Justice Mussarat Hilali has taken a significant step in Pakistan’s judicial history as she was sworn in as a judge of the Supreme Court. This landmark occasion marks her as the second woman to be elevated to the apex court since the country’s independence.
Upholding Justice: The Oath Ceremony
In a solemn ceremony held at the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial administered the oath to Justice Mussarat Hilali. Distinguished attendees included esteemed SC judges, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan, and members of the legal fraternity. The oath-taking ceremony symbolizes the beginning of an esteemed judicial journey for Justice Hilali.
Strengthening the Bench: A New Appointment
With the appointment of Justice Hilali, the Supreme Court of Pakistan now boasts a total of 16 judges. This addition reinforces the court’s commitment to upholding justice and ensuring a diverse representation on the bench. While there remains one vacant slot, the arrival of Justice Hilali is a momentous step towards achieving gender equality and inclusivity within the judiciary.
A Glimpse into Justice Hilali’s Illustrious Career
Justice Mussarat Hilali’s impressive career is characterized by notable achievements and a relentless pursuit of justice. Born in Peshawar on August 08, 1961, she embarked on her legal journey at Khyber Law College, Peshawar University. Over the years, she attained various milestones, ultimately becoming an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2006.
Pioneering Women’s Empowerment
Throughout her career, Justice Hilali has been a trailblazer, breaking barriers and championing women’s empowerment in the legal profession. Noteworthy achievements include:
- First Female Office-Bearer: In 1988-1989, Justice Hilali made history by becoming the first female elected as an office-bearer in the post of secretary at the bar.
- Vice President at the Bar: She served as the Vice President at the bar twice, from 1992 to 1994.
- General Secretary: From 1997 to 1998, Justice Hilali held the position of General Secretary.
- Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Executive Member: She was twice elected as an executive member of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009, marking another significant milestone for female representation.
- Advocate General and Environmental Advocate: Justice Hilali’s dedication extended to her role as the first female Additional Advocate General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and subsequently as the Chairperson of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection Tribunal.
- Protecting Women’s Rights: In a groundbreaking move, she served as the first female ombudsman for protection against the harassment of women in the workplace.
Peshawar High Court and Beyond
Justice Hilali’s journey continued with her appointment as an additional judge of the Peshawar High Court on March 26, 2013. Recognizing her exceptional judicial acumen, she was confirmed as a permanent judge on March 13, 2014. On April 1, 2023, she took oath as the acting Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court, an interim role that was later confirmed when she became the Chief Justice on May 12, 2023.
As Justice Mussarat Hilali assumes her position as a Supreme Court judge, she brings with her a wealth of experience and an unwavering commitment to justice. With her esteemed colleagues, she will contribute to shaping the legal landscape of Pakistan. Her appointment represents a significant stride towards gender equality and a testament to the undeniable capabilities of women in the judiciary.
The legal fraternity eagerly awaits the profound impact Justice Hilali will undoubtedly make during her three-year tenure on the apex court. Her presence is not only a source of inspiration for aspiring female legal professionals but also a symbol of progress and inclusivity in the pursuit of justice.