BHC may have nation’s first woman chief justice

Published: July 17, 2018
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Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar. PHOTO: BALOCHISTAN HIGH COURT

Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar. PHOTO: BALOCHISTAN HIGH COURT

ISLAMABAD: The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) is highly likely to appoint Pakistan’s first woman chief justice of a high court.

Sources confirmed that summoned a JCP meeting on July 30 to consider Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar as the new Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court.

BHC’s incumbent Chief Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai is scheduled to retire on September 1 this year. He was sworn in on December 26, 2014 after Justice Qazi Faez Isa was elevated as a Supreme Court judge.

If elevated, Justice Tahira Safdar may work as the chief justice of the BHC till October 5 next year. Justice Tahira Safdar is part of the special court hearing the high treason case against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

Interestingly, Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar was the first woman to be appointed as a civil judge in Balochistan, besides having the distinction of being the first lady to be appointed in all posts she served. She was also the first female high court judge.

According to her profile on BHC’s website, Justice Tahira Safdar is the daughter of Syed Imtiaz Hussain Baqri Hanafi, a renowned lawyer. She was born on October 5, 1957, at Quetta. She received her basic education from the Cantonment Public School, Quetta, and finished her bachelors’ degree from the Government Girls College, Quetta. Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar did her Masters in Urdu Literature from the University of Balochistan, and completed her degree in law from the University Law College, Quetta, in 1980.

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Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar was successful in the Competitive Examination held by Balochistan Public Service Commission, starting her career as a civil judge on April 22, 1982. Subsequently, she was promoted to the rank of Senior Civil Judge on June 29, 1987, and as Additional District and Sessions Judge on February 27, 1991.

On March 1, 1996, she was promoted as District and Sessions Judge. Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar also worked as a Presiding Officer in the Labour Court. She was appointed as a Member of the Balochistan Services Tribunal on October 22, 1998, and worked until she was appointed as Chairperson of the Balochistan Services Tribunal on the July 10, 2009. While working as Chairperson, Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar was elevated as an additional judge in the BHC on September 7, 2009. She was confirmed as a regular judge on May 11, 2011.

Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar attended training on International Law for Justice on, ‘Meeting International Human Rights Standards in Criminal Proceedings’, which was held in The Hague, the Netherlands in 2012.

Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar is a Member of the Administration Committee, the Promotion Committee and the Committee for drafting rules, regulations, notifications, circulars, and to examine the rules and their particulars.

She was one of the three Judges of the Special Court constituted under Section 4 Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act of 1976 for the high treason trial against former military ruler General (retired) Pervez Musharraf vide notification issued on November 20, 2013.

Currently, there are 10 judges, including the chief justice, working in the BHC while there are five vacancies in the high court.

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