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Pakistan Swears In First Woman As Supreme Court Judge

The Supreme Court building in Islamabad.

Pakistan has appointed its first female Supreme Court judge, a landmark move for the historically conservative and male-dominated judiciary of the overwhelmingly Muslim country.

Justice Ayesha Malik, 55, was sworn in on live TV on January 24, with her oath administered by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad.

Justice Ayesha Malik
Justice Ayesha Malik

"I congratulate Justice Ayesha Malik for becoming the first female judge of the Supreme Court," Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a tweet. "She has my prayers and good wishes."

U.S.-educated Malik has served as a high court judge in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore for the past 20 years.

Last year Malik declared illegal a deeply invasive and medically discredited examination used in rape and sexual assault cases to determine a woman's level of sexual experience.

The nine-member body that confirmed Malik's appointment had initially turned down her appointment last year, before voting 5-4 to approve her this year.

Lawyers' groups criticized the choice, arguing that Malik was not among the top three most-senior judges of the lower court from which she was elevated.

Earlier this month the Pakistan Bar Council staged a strike to protest against Malik's nomination.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP