ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar apologised on Wednesday "if his recent remarks in Karachi hurt someoneâs feelings".
The chief justice, in a recent speech in Karachi, had told participants: âDonât think Iâve written a long speech. I was always told, âa speech should be like a womanâs skirt. It should not be too long that one loses oneâs interest. Neither should it be too short that it doesnât cover the subjectâ. So I will be adhering to that principle."
The quote,Â originally attributed to former UK prime minister Winston Churchill, drew criticism from several quarters, including women rights groups.Â Â
Making the remarks while hearing a case related to Karachiâs tax in the Supreme Court, the chief justice clarified that his intention was not to hurt anyoneâs feelings.
Chief Justice Nisar observed that he used Churchillâs quote as a reference.
"Women represent half of our society. Attempts were made to turn the matter into an issue on social media," the chief justice remarked during the hearing.Â Â
In an open letter on Tuesday, the Womenâs Action Forum had asked Chief Justice Nisar to âissue a public apology to the women of Pakistanâ for his remarks.Â
âThe WAF Karachi, through this letter, calls on you to issue a public apology to the women of Pakistan; recognise the rampant sexism and under-representation of women in the legal profession and judiciary; and take immediate steps to provide a harassment-free environment for women in the profession and those who engage with it,â the statement read.
âOn January 13, 2018, during your speech at a judicial conference in Karachi, you quoted Winston Churchill, comparing a good speech to the length of a womanâs skirt. Reliance on this quote reveals deep-rooted sexism and double standards women are held to which discourage women from joining the legal profession due to this hostile mindset towards themâ the statement read.
Speaking to Geo.tv, Uzma Noorani one of the founder members of WAF, said the chief justice "should realise the difficulties faced by women in a male-dominated profession. By making such a statement he is putting down women and that makes me sad."
The WAF statement emphasised that âit is disheartening and disappointing for women to hear such sexist remarks from theÂ highest-ranking judicial official of the countryâ.