Breaking barriers: Pakistan to appoint its first visually impaired judge


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is set to make a mark in the society with the appointment of Pakistan’s first blind judge, Yousaf Saleem,

According to a local English newspaper, the visually impaired lawyer hails from Lahore and was denied the position earlier, despite being a topper.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Saqib Nisar got involved in this matter and reconsidered the case of Saleem. Following the intervention, CJP recommended him for the position of the civil judge.

Yousaf Saleem was one of the 21 shortlisted people from 300 candidates who had passed the written test for the civil judge position. However, his disability got in the way and only made it to the interview stage before being denied the position.

To his luck, the Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice was asked to review the case stating that, a person can be given the position of a judge despite being visually impaired, provided he meets all the qualifications.

According to a press release issued by the Supreme Court in regard to the case stated, “His fundamental rights under Articles 9, 14 and 25 of the Constitution, the provisions of the UN Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by Pakistan, three percent quota under the Disabled Persons (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance 1981, and the jurisprudence developed by the Lahore High Court in PLD 2017 Lahore 406 and PLD 2017 Lahore 1 were not considered by the Lahore High Court.”

Following the orders by CJP, Saleem, on Saturday received a recommendation letter from the LHC stating that ‘the Hon’ble Examination Committee for Recruitment of District Judiciary and Lahore High Court Establishment has recommended you for appointment as Civil Judge-cum-Magistrate,’ setting an example for other such candidates to continue doing what they love.

Saleem, who is the son of a charted accountant is blind by birth, has four sisters and two of them are also blind. He is currently working as an assistant director (legal) in a department of the Punjab Government.

Moreover, his sister, Saima Saleem was the first blind person to pass her civil service exam in 2007 and currently works in the Prime Minister Secretariat as a deputy secretary, while his other sister is a lecturer in a university in Lahore.