Pakistan’s first-ever visually impaired judge has been sworn in by the Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali.
Judge Yousaf Saleem’s story is one of never losing hope and sheer determination. He was previously rejected for being blind. However, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) intervened after his case was highlighted in the media. The CJP directed the relevant authorities to review his case.
The CJP told that a person could become a judge if he/she meets the selection criteria and holds relevant qualification even if they are blind.
The LHC Chief Justice followed CJP’s orders and formed a committee that reviewed Saleem’s case. After the review, the committee approved Yousaf Saleem for the position of the civil judge.
Yousaf Saleem took the oath of his office yesterday i.e. 26th June 2018. He received his employment letter last week that said,
Honorable Examination Committee for Recruitment of District Judiciary and Lahore High Court Establishment has recommended you for appointment as Civil Judge-cum-Magistrate.
The newly appointed judge holds an excellent academic record. He is a gold medalist in LLB (Honors) degree from the Punjab University. Saleem also topped the written judiciary exam held in 2014 in which a total of 6,500 candidates participated. Only 21 candidates were shortlisted for the interview including Yousaf Saleem.
Saleem’s path to becoming a judge was rejected a few months ago when he went for the interview, with his visual impairment being stated as the reason behind it.
Despite this, Yousuf didn’t give up. His case was picked up by the media. He said:
If you don’t believe in your dreams no one will.
Yousaf Saleem is the son of a chartered accountant and hails from Lahore. Out of this four sisters, two are visually impaired as well. Remarkably, despite their physical shortcomings, they are also the high achievers in their respective fields. Saima Saleem, one of Yousaf’s sisters, is the first visually impaired blind services officer and has served in Pakistan’s UN missions in Geneva and New York as well.