In a first, the Hafizabad District Bar Association (DBA) has elected a woman president. Khalida Shahid will serve as the DBA president after narrowly winning 504-501 against her male rival.
By some accounts, Ms. Shahid is the first-ever woman president of any DBA in Pakistan.
This is the second time Ms. Shahid has run for the position, following an unsuccessful bid two years prior. She also heads the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Hafizabad chapter. Hafizabad is located in Punjab.
Earlier this week, another woman, Justice Ayesha Malik made history as the first female judge ever approved for the Supreme Court. Similarly, she won by a narrow margin, with five out of the nine members of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) voting to approve her nomination.
The nomination of Justice Malik highlighted the extent of the predominantly male judicial system in Pakistan. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) found in 2016 that only about 4 per cent of Pakistan’s High Court judges were women. Furthermore, only 17 per cent of Pakistani judges in the lower and higher courts are women (519 out of 3,005 judges nationwide).
In a statement on the historic nomination, HRCP chairperson Hina Jilani wrote, “Addressing Pakistan’s gender disparity—and indeed other forms of disparity on the grounds of class, ethnicity or religion—on the bench and in the bar warrants a more proactive, long-term approach that tackles structural discrimination and sexism in the legal community.”