2nd Punjab Women Judges Conference on Access to Justice was held on 13th – 15th October, 2017 in Faletti’s hotel Lahore. There were total 269 Female judges from all over the Punjab were attended this conference. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr.Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was the Chief Guest of this conference. Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Lahore Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Mrs. Justice Ayesha A. Malik, Mrs. Justice Ashraf Jahan from Federal Shariat court Islamabad and the Delegation from International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) was also attended the conference.
Honorable Justice Nisar said in his keynote speech at the concluding session of the 2nd Punjab Women Judges Conference that “The Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) system seems to be the only way address delays in settlement of cases. We should embrace model courts if they are not at the cost of delaying ordinary litigation and if they provide privilege to those who need it. There is no difference between a civil judge First class and a Supreme Court judge .Both are meant to dispense justice according to law and no one can do it according to his or her own will”. He said, “We are lucky that we are governed by a written constitution which enshrines fundamental rights that make no discrimination between male and female.
Early, LHC Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah pointed out that 1.2 million cases had been pending before courts across Punjab. He said that 3,651of the 5,446 cases had been decided through ADR centers, while 11,113 cases had been decided in civil model courts and 4,274 in criminal model courts.
Further Justice Mansoor Ali Shah advised female judges to fight against elements that perpetuated violence against Women “Violence faced by women takes Physical, verbal, psychological and economic forms,”he said acknowledging the need for providing women better access to justice through impartiality in adjudication.
Justice Ayesha A. Malik urged female judges to encourage a women –friendly nondiscriminatory environment within their courtrooms to restore women’s faith in the Judiciary. She also said that recommendations discussed during the conference would be instrumental in formulating the policies for more Gender-Sensitive conduct and environment in courts across the country.
Justice Susana Medina, President of International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ), said that a domestic violence office had been established in Argentina’s apex court which operated throughout the year. She proposed that such a system be introduced in Pakistan.
Justice Esusebia Munuo of the Court Appeal in Tanzania said that” economic violence” had been a major problem faced by widows in rural communities in her country.
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, USA, said that children advocacy centers had been established in her country to provide psychological and other support services and restraining orders could be obtained for entire families in violent situations.
Justice Saida Chebili President of the Court of Sousse in Tunisia &president (IAWJ) emphasized that barriers faced by women in pursuing legal cases must be overcome through rights-based awareness campaigns and education for the masses.
Ms. Anne Goldstien Esq. and Justice Eusebia Munuo highlighted IAWJ’s role in eliminating child sexual abuse in Ghana and collaborating with medical practitioners, legal professional and local community leaders to support women victims of violence.
Dr. Robyn Layton, a former judge of the Supreme Court in South Australia, shared her experience of conducting gender sensitivity training with the district judiciary of the province.
In the session of sexual violence, Mehreen Siddique of the PCSW pointed out that some 1,365 cases of rape had been reported during the Jan-June period this year. However, data collected by the PCSW revealed a staggeringly low conviction rates in these cases, she said.
Additional District & Sessions judge/ Senior Instructor of PJA Shazib Saeed highlighted the widespread bias among law enforcement agencies that deters women and girls from seeking justice.
Ms. Shazia Deputy Registrar LHC shared her views at the topic of “A success Story” from the last year Activities. Ms. Hina Muzaffar ADSJ Chiniot, talk about the role of Judge in Gender-Based Violence. Ms. Ayesha Rasheed ADSJ/Addl. Registrar LHC shared the objectives of the Conference while. Ms. Jazeela Aslam Director Academics, Ms. Ayesha Khalid Senior Instructor of PJA conduct the proceedings of the conference.
Superior court judges, Registrar LHC Syed Khurshid Anwar Rizvi, Director General District Judiciary Muhammad Akmal Khan, Director General Punjab Judicial Academy Ms. Mahrukh Aziz, Director Admin Ch. Muhammad Saleem, faculity members of PJA and judicial Officers attended court.