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PESHAWAR: Justice Musarrat Hilali has become the first female Acting Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) as she took the oath of office at a simple but impressive ceremony in Peshawar on Saturday.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali administered the oath of office to Justice Musarrat Hilali who will remain as acting PHC CJ till the appointment of a regular Chief Justice by the Judicial Commission of Pakistan.

Justice Hilali was elevated to the post after the retirement of Chief Justice Qaiser Rasheed. She is the second female who has become Chief Justice of a high court after Justice Tahira Safdar became Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court. Several judges, Attorney General for Pakistan Usman Mansoor Awan and a larger number of lawyers were present on the occasion.

President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday approved the appointment of Justice Musarrat Hilali as the Chief Justice. She replaced outgoing Chief Justice Qaiser Rasheed. She is the second female judge to be elevated to the Chief Justice of a high court in Pakistan after Justice Tahira Safdar, the CJ of Balochistan High Court (BHC). Justice Hilali will serve as CJ till her retirement.

President approves appointment of Justice Musarrat Hilali as chief justice of PHC

Born in Peshawar on August 08, 1961, she received Law Degree from Khyber Law College Peshawar University and enrolled as an Advocate of District Courts in 1983, as an Advocate of the High Court in 1988 and as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2006.

Being a female she had several achievements in her career including being the first female elected office bear on the post of Secretary at the bar from 1988-1989, Vice President at the bar (twice) from 1992 to 1994, General Secretary 1997-1998, first female twice elected as an executive member of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) from 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.

She was also the first female Additional Advocate General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from November 2001 to March 2004 and was later appointed as the first female Chairperson Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection Tribunal.

She also served as the first female Ombudsman for the Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace. She was elevated to the Bench as Additional Judge on March 26, 2013, and confirmed as a permanent judge of the Peshawar High Court on March 13, 2014.

Additionally, Justice Hilali remained a focal member of the 2007 Lawyers’ Movement — started after a reference was filed against then CJP Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry — during which she courageously stood alongside the rest of the male-majority legal fraternity.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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