The visually impaired lawyer Yousaf Saleem on Tuesday became Punjab’s first blind judge as he took oath as a civil judge along with 20 others.
The oath ceremony was held at Punjab Judiciary Academy where Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali administered the oath.
Addressing the ceremony, Justice Yawar Ali asked the judges to deliver justice without fear or favour. The CJP said, “Rendering justice is the sacred profession.”
Senior puisne judge Justice Muhammad Anwarul Haq, LHC registrar Bahadur Ali Khan, Directorate District Judiciary Director General Rao Abdul Jabbar and District and Sessions Judge Establishment Sardar Tahir Sabir and Punjab Judiciary Academy Director General Fakhar Hayat were also present.
The other civil judges who took oath were: Sardar Umar Hassan Khan, Saba Qamar, Naseem Akhtar Naz, Maira Hassan, Qamar Abbas, Ihsan Nawaz, Muhammad Bilal, Muhammad Amir Sultan Kolachi, Muhammad Abbas, Sumaira Jabbar, Ali Raza, Muhammad Bilal Khan, Muhammad Tariq, Rasheed Khan, Obaid Hassan, Sana Afzal, Mansoor Ahmad, Allah Nawaz, Muhammad Zubair Sabir, Muhammad Javed Iqbal and Shaheen Noor.
Saleem belongs to Lahore. He was first denied the position despite having topped civil judges’ exam. However, he was considered for the same post after Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar took notice of it.
Later, the CJP had directed the Lahore High Court for reviewing the case of Yousaf Saleem, observing that a blind person can become a judge provided that he meets all other requirements. Saleem received the letter on May 12 stating, “You are informed that the Honourable Examination Committee for Recruitment of District Judiciary and Lahore High Court Establishment has recommended you for appointment as Civil Judge-cum-Magistrate.”
The civil judges’ competitive exams were held last year in November and a total of 6,538 candidates applied for it. However, 3,648 candidates took part in the written exams out of which 21 were declared successful. Saleem passed the written exam out of 3,648 candidates this January in Punjab. Only 0.5 per cent candidates passed the competitive exams held last year for hiring of the civil judges-cum-judicial magistrates across the province.
Yousaf is the son of a charted accountant and is visually impaired by birth. He has four sisters and two of them are also visually impaired. His sister Saima Saleem became first visually impaired civil servant in 2007 and is currently serving with Prime Minister Secretariat while the other sister is a university lecturer.
First time in the country’s judicial history, competitive exams were held for hiring the civil judges-cum-judicial magistrates at equal standards and quality of Central Superior Services’ (CSS) exams held for recruitment of civil servants.