19th March 2022
By Asra Haque
The Youth General Assembly (YGA), with the support of the Business & Law School (BLS), initiated Pakistan’s first National Women’s Moot Court competition on Friday, March 19. Female students from eight schools and colleges across Pakistan participated in the two-day event, with the first two preliminary rounds concluding today.
In the spirit of inclusivity, the competition also featured an all-women panel of adjudicators presiding over mock trials concerning the guarantee of women’s fundamental rights.
Student teams were designated petitioners or respondents in an imitation trial regarding the lack of women in Pakistan’s various bar councils, and pleaded their case regarding whether the absence of a women’s quota in the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act 1973 constitutes discrimination, whether the petition constitutes public interest litigation, and whether the Supreme Court of Pakistan has jurisdiction to hear the case.
BLS Managing Director, Adeel Ahmad, told Voicepk.net that the competition is a part of a concerted effort to develop an inclusive moot culture at the institution.
“Modern legal education is centered on professional practice and advocacy skills, [and] BLS’s main focus is on those practical applications and experiences learnt during studies,” he said. “That is why it is important to reach out to those factions who, we believe, are inadequately represented up to the level of the bars, and the lower and high courts.”
He posited that the first step to ensuring representation at the grassroots is to promote inclusive practice in educational institutions first, while the bar councils and lower courts naturally constituted the second step.
YGA Founder and President, Fahad Shehbaz, expressed hope that the moot would help drive more aspiring female law students to pursue the legal profession.
“We are holding the first all-women’s moot court in Pakistan’s history. We hope that more and more women can be a part of this competition. Just as Justice Ayesha A. Malik was elevated to the Supreme Court, we wish to see more women in the legal profession,” he said, explaining the onus behind the event. “Unfortunately, there are no female representatives in Pakistan’s bar councils. We want to see more women out of the domestic sphere and instead pursue a profession in litigation.”
Zain Tahir, an observer, appreciated the initiative and hoped that the competition would embolden aspiring female lawyers to pursue the legal profession without any hesitancy.
“It’s an excellent initiative. It will help raise their self-confidence and teach them how to present their case in front of a judge,” he said.
“It’s a great initiative, we were given a healthy environment,” stated Aman Minhas, a participant. “There should be more competitions like this.”