16 February 2023
By Ahmed Saeed
In more than a century no woman has ever been appointed as Secretary of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA). If she wins the Bar elections this year, Sabahat Rizvi will create history as the first woman in 150 years to be elected for the position.
As a lawyer, Sabahat Rizvi has always been a trailblazer and is one of the youngest lawyers in the country to become an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. It is therefore not surprising that she is vying for one of the toughest seats in the LHCBA elections which to most female lawyers would seem like an impossible feat.
Sabahat joined the bar in 2002 and tirelessly worked in different law firms across the city gaining vital experience and a strong grip on civil, corporate, and family law. Presently she is a partner at the reputable Commons Law Company.
The lack of female representation in the courts and the bar association led Sabahat Rizvi to run in the 2023 LHCBA elections. She relates how because of the dearth of women in law she still faces discrimination because of her gender. The discrimination however does not deter Sabahat as she attempts to change the culture of gender bias and shatter the glass ceiling that still limits women in the legal system.
As a young female lawyer, Sabahat Rizvi is aware of the issues faced by women both inside and outside the courtrooms. Her experience representing vulnerable women has familiarized her with the challenges of accessing justice and the conscious and unconscious bias that is still prevalent in the field.
Sabahat’s determination, skill, and capability allow her to overcome these obstacles and is what she claims makes her suitable for the role. Being elected as the Secretary of the Lahore High Court Bar Association will be a step in the right direction and allow her to address the issues faced by female lawyers in the Lahore Bar.
For Sabahat, her dedication to the law is matched only by her commitment to human rights. As an advocate for women, minorities, and vulnerable groups she actively works for those whose human rights are violated by raising her voice for them in the courts and outside it.
She has been involved in the enactment of important laws such as the Transgender Protection Act 2018 and in safeguarding the Khwajasira community from violence. Additionally, her pro bono work for female prisoners showcases her devotion to legal justice for those most vulnerable.
Sabahat Rizvi’s campaign for the bar election has already garnered much momentum in the High Court. Many senior lawyers, like Abid Saqi, acknowledging the need for more female leaders are happily supporting her and are hopeful that she will win and make history.
Her candidacy has also been endorsed by the prominent Asma Jahangir Group and AGHS Legal Aid Cell.
AGHS is proud to endorse Sabahat Rizvi in her campaign to be the first female Secretary of the Lahore High Court Bar Association.
Female representation is vital for tackling systemic bias & for improving justice for all. We stand with Sabahat as she attempts to make history! pic.twitter.com/XhavADhwky
— AGHS Legal Aid Cell, Asma Jahangir's Law Firm (@Asma_Jahangir) February 17, 2023
The bar elections are set to take place on February 2023. Sabahat has taken the challenge and is hopeful that she will break the glass ceiling.