Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Gilgit's first female judge: #AmnaZamir- making her mark in a male-dominated world



Standing outside a courtroom in Gilgit, a prosecutor takes a minute to first adjust his tie. Glancing at his watch, he checks to make sure that he is dressed according to the official dress code before entering the courtroom.

A lawyer standing next to him counts the documents in his file to ensure every paper related to the case is present.

This is a common site before proceedings begin in the court of Amna Zamir, a senior Civil Judge in Gahkuch, Ghizer valley in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).

The first female judge of G-B, Zamir is known for her strictness in upholding decorum in the court.

“There were days I remember when no one, especially police officers, would take her court seriously,” recounts a lawyer.

“This was primarily because she was a woman. But then, her decisions and judgments soon set things right,” he added, about the judge whose profession elevated the status of women in the male dominant society of G-B.

A resident of the Hunza valley, Zamir did complete her LLB from International Islamic University Islamabad in 2004. She went on clinch the top spot in the federal public service commission (FPSC) competitive examinations in 2006. She was then appointed as a civil judge in G-B Judiciary.

Despite resistance from the male-dominated judiciary and legal community, Zamir soon made her mark as she quickly decided hundreds of cases which had been pending for a long time.

Her hard work saw her work as an assistant registrar in Gilgit’s Chief Court.

In 2009, she travelled to England after winning the Chevening scholarship from British Council and completed her LLM in Human Rights Law.

“She is a highly competent judge and I must say she has elevated the stature of the judiciary,” said another lawyer Shakeel Ahmed.

According to court officials, Zamir has been discharging an average of 100 cases per month including civil, criminal and family cases.

UK Alumni Award
Having made her mark in the court, Zamir recently received an award as a top performing British alumni.

British High Commissioner Tom Drew gave her the UK Alumni Award last week for being an outstanding individual.

Included in the professional category, Zamir was one of the three finalists presented the award. The three finalists were reportedly chosen from over a hundred applicants.

The Study UK Alumni Awards recognise the outstanding achievements made by UK alumni and celebrate the impact and value of a UK higher education.

According to the British Council, after completing her post-graduate studies from the UK, Zamir had been associated with various civil society organisations which offer free legal aid and advice to those who cannot afford to seek quality legal services.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2017.

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