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EditorialBright Pakistan's faces

Bright Pakistan’s faces

The inclusion of Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman and Supreme Court judge Justice Ayesha Malik on the recently released Forbes’ 50 Over 50: Asia 2023 list is a source of pride for Pakistan given the plight of women and the lack of opportunities for Pakistani women. In the normal course of things, this wouldn’t have been a big deal. The list includes 50 Asian-Pacific women over 50 who are breaking new ground in their fields and serving as role models for the region’s youth. The list highlights female professionals who are demonstrating that success can be achieved at any age in fields like technology, medicine, the arts, politics, and more.

The esteemed publication has provided a succinct profile of each woman. The magazine claims that Justice Ayesha Malik, a Supreme Court judge who is 56 years old, became the first woman to preside over Pakistan’s highest court last year in the nation’s 75-year history. She was controversially elevated to the Supreme Court after a controversy broke out about her appointment. Some bar office-bearers contributed to the uproar by raising legitimate worries, but given Pakistan’s troubled past, these concerns shouldn’t have been spoken about. Before this, Justice Ayesha Malik worked for ten years as a Lahore High Court judge, where he rendered decisions regarding the recognition of foreign arbitration awards in Pakistan. She also sat on the green bench, where she promoted environmental justice.

Her excellent judgments do the talking: Virginity testing was made illegal in rape cases in a landmark ruling by Justice Ayesha Malik in 2021. She has held positions as chair of the Judicial Officers Female Supervisory Committee and on the board of the Punjab Judicial Academy. She is not the first person to be on the such list; in December 2022, Justice Ayesha Malik was included in the BBC’s list of 100 Women. She was the sole Pakistani woman to be on the BBC’s list of the 100 most inspirational and influential women in the world.

In response to being named to the prestigious list, Justice Malik stated that “women must create a new narrative-one that includes their perspective, shares their experience, and includes their tales.”

Sherry Rehman, another proud representative of Pakistan, was included on the list for her leadership role at the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) for a “loss and damage” fund, which would channel funding from wealthy nations to developing nations that have experienced natural disasters related to climate change. The powerful woman in her sixties is a former journalist, minister of information, and ambassador to the United States. In 2018, Sherry Rehman became the first woman to serve as the Senate’s leader of the opposition. In April 2022, she was chosen to serve as the nation’s federal minister for climate change. Sherry Rehman has won numerous honours, including the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s highest civic award. She co-authored the 2006 book “Five Hundred Years of The Kashmiri Shawl,” for which she received the Textile Society of America’s RL Shep Textiles Book Award. In addition to Forbes, the Financial Times recognised her contributions in 2022 and listed her as one of the top 25 women in power.

Thank you, Ayesha Malik and Sherry Rehman for making Pakistan and Pakistani women proud. You are a role model for other women.

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