Two women lawyers make history winning Lahore High Court Bar elections

    Sabahat Rizvi and Rabbiya Bajwa, two Pakistani lawyers, have made history after being elected as secretary and vice-president, respectively, of Pakistan’s oldest bar association. Their historic win cracked the glass ceiling in the legal industry, paving the way for women’s advancement.

    Sabahat Rizvi bagged 4,310 votes to become the first woman to be elected as the secretary of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA), which dates back to 1882. Another Supreme Court advocate, Rabbiya Bajwa, was elected as the association’s vice-president.

    The two women pledged to pave the way for increased female representation in leadership positions within the legal profession. Sabahat Rizvi has expressed her aspirations to use her position to increase the representation of women in leadership roles in Pakistan’s legal profession. She aims to set a precedent and an example for other female lawyers by sincerely serving the association.

    Sabahat Rizvi is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and has been practicing law for more than 20 years. She completed her LLB from Punjab University in 2001. Presently, she is a partner at the Commons Law Company. Her areas of practice include constitutional law, corporate, criminal defence, and consumer and family matters.

    Despite facing competition from two male candidates, one of whom had previously served as the bar’s secretary, Rizvi won the election by a lead of 600 votes. Sabahat Rizvi said that she faced several obstacles during her election campaign, including gender discrimination and stereotypes, from people who still do not consider women as professional lawyers. Nevertheless, Rizvi remained determined and convinced people about her abilities, and ultimately won the position. Rizvi thanked the legal fraternity in Lahore for trusting her abilities. She hopes to inspire more women to pursue leadership positions in the legal profession and break down barriers for future generations.

    Rabbiya Bajwa is also an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. She joined the legal profession in 1999 and was enrolled as an advocate in 2012. She is currently associated with a Lahore-based law firm called Law Forte. She has vast experience in conducting cases related to civil, criminal, constitutional, consumer protection, banking, family matters as well as media and cybercrime laws.

    The newly elected vice-president of the Lahore high court bar association, Rabbiya Bajwa, vows to promote meritocracy in the appointment of judges and eliminate issues like corruption. Bajwa previously served as finance secretary of the Lahore high court bar in 2006. She secured 3,590 votes against her five male rivals in the latest election.

    She expressed hope that their landmark victory will motivate more women to join the legal profession and take on leadership roles in bar associations and politics. In January 2022, Justice Ayesha Malik became the first woman to be appointed as a judge on Pakistan’s Supreme Court.

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