Yousaf Saleem to become first visually impaired judge in Pakistan

Umar Cheema
Yousaf Saleem. Photo:File

ISLAMABAD: Yousaf Saleem, the visually impaired lawyer is all set to become Pakistan’s first blind judge of Pakistan.

Saleem who hails from Lahore was denied the position despite being a topper has been reconsidered and recommended for the position of the civil judge after intervention by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, reported by The News.

Currently working as an assistant director (legal) in a department of the Punjab Government, Saleem was one of the 21 out of 300 candidates who passed the written test for the civil judge position.

However, his disability got in the way and he could only make it to the interview stage before being denied the position.

The chief justice had directed the chief justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC) to review the case saying, that a person could be a judge even if he is blind, provided he meets all other qualifications.

“It appears in this case, 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,” the SC press release read.

On Saturday, Saleem received a letter from the LHC stating, “You are hereby informed 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.”

Saleem who is the son of a charted accountant is blind by birth, has four sisters and two of them are also blind.

One of his sisters, Saima Saleem, is 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. 

Originally published in The News