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Justice Ayesha Malik To Be Pakistan's First Woman Supreme Court Judge; Elevation Approved

New Age Islam News Bureau

07 January 2022

• Belgian-British Teenage Pilot, Zara Rutherford To Fly Solo Around The World Arrives In Saudi Arabia

• Saudi Women Told They Can Also Apply To Become Cabbies

• Indian Police Arrest Alleged Creator Of App Targeting Muslim Women

• Women’s Periods May Be Slightly Late After Covid Vaccine: Study

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Justice Ayesha Malik To Be Pakistan's First Woman Supreme Court Judge; Elevation Approved


A file photo of Justice Ayesha Malik. — Photo courtesy Punjab Judicial Academy website


By Salman Masood

Jan. 6, 2022

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan cleared the way for the first woman in the country’s history to become a Supreme Court justice, when a judicial commission on Thursday approved the elevation of Justice Ayesha A. Malik to the top court.

The nomination of Justice Malik, a justice on Lahore’s High Court, was hailed by lawyers and activists who saw it as a rare victory after decades of struggle to secure greater representation and rights for women in Pakistan’s largely conservative and male-dominated society.

“This is historic,” said Aliya Hamza Malik, a member of parliament from the governing Tehreek-e-Insaf bloc. “It is a defining moment for women’s empowerment in the country.”

Her nomination, which was backed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, will now go to a parliamentary committee, which is expected to confirm her appointment to a 10-year term.

The path to Justice Malik’s nomination was not smooth. She has faced bitter opposition from a large section of the legal community, and some lawyers have threatened to go on strike if she becomes part of the Supreme Court bench.

Last September, the judicial commission rejected Justice Malik’s elevation after four out of its eight members opposed her, citing her lack of seniority. Justice Malik is fourth in seniority on the Lahore High Court, which she joined in 2012.

Despite the opposition, the country’s chief justice continued to support her elevation to the top court, and legal advocacy groups have discounted the argument that lack of seniority is a disqualifying factor for nomination.

“This elevation has come 74 years too late, and we should all celebrate that some change to an all-male bench has finally come,” said Benazir Jatoi, an Islamabad-based lawyer, referring to the creation of an independent Pakistan in 1947.

“Our judicial system is alien to female representation,” Alia Zareen Abbasi, another Islamabad-based lawyer, noted. “Despite years and years of struggle and having very able female judges, none was able to make it to the Supreme Court. Even in high courts, the low, almost negligible percentage of female representation is very alarming.”

Some observers cautioned that one victory for women was far from enough in a country where sexual assault and discrimination remain largely unpunished crimes.

“If women continue to be shackled by patriarchy and regressive interpretations of Islam, we will continue to not progress in terms of developing the human capital required to succeed nationally and globally,” said Zarmeeneh Rahim, an Islamabad-based lawyer.

Still, she said, “to finally see a woman sit on the highest court in the land is a small step forward in that struggle.”

Source: New York Times


Belgian-British Teenage Pilot, Zara Rutherford To Fly Solo Around The World Arrives In Saudi Arabia


Belgian-British teenage pilot, Zara Rutherford


January 07, 2022

RIYADH: Belgian-British teenage pilot, Zara Rutherford, landed at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on Thursday in her attempt to break the record for the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.

Passing through 52 countries in a microlight aircraft, Rutherford stopped off in the Kingdom from the UAE as part of her tour, which is meant to encourage girls and women to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as to stimulate girls’ interest in aviation, a statement on Saudi Press Agency said.

The Kingdom’s hosting of the adventurous young pilot, in coordination with the Saudi Aviation Club, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Riyadh Airports Company, aims to shed light on the role of women in the aviation sector, and in particular empower Saudi women in the field in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Capt. Rutherford said she was pleased to arrive in Riyadh and that the flight had exceeded all her expectations and gave her unforgettable moments and tremendous challenges.

“I enjoyed the wonderful view when flying over the Kingdom, and every moment I had was an exceptional experience,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford set out on the epic flight in August from Kortrijk-Wevelgem International Airport in western Belgium, with the goal of flying 32,000 miles (51,499 kilometers) across five continents.

The 19-year-old, who obtained a special flight license from the US Federal Aviation Administration and the UK on Aug. 18, is piloting one of the world’s fastest lightweight aircraft, the Shark Ultralight, which is the world’s fastest two-seater single-engine light aircraft, and can reach a speed of 300 kilometers per hour.

Source: Arab News


Saudi Women Told They Can Also Apply To Become Cabbies

January 06, 2022

JEDDAH: Less than four years after being given the right to drive, Saudi women have been told they can now also apply to become cabbies.

The news was announced by the Saudi General Directorate of Traffic via its Twitter account @eMoroor. The statement said that women could apply for a “general taxi license” at any of 18 driving schools in cities across the Kingdom, including Riyadh, Jeddah, Jazan, Asir, Najran, Jouf, Hail and Taif.

The cost for applying for a license is SR200 ($53), the department said.

Artist Latifah Al-Shalhoub told Arab News she supported the announcement.

“As a female, I always had an issue with this topic. I never felt comfortable riding in a taxi on my own with a male driver. At least with Uber and Careem you get some information about the driver before you get in,” she said.

“Most taxi drivers around the world are men, but you do see women drivers in some countries. It is definitely more comfortable to ride with a female driver than a male.”

Translator Aseel Atif said the announcement would give women more options in the jobs market.

“I think this news will help many women find a career,” she said, adding that she might consider it for herself.

“I love driving, so I wouldn’t mind being a taxi driver.”

Since being granted the right to drive in 2018, a number of careers in the transportation field have opened up to Saudi women, including driving trains, flying planes and even racing cars. That ruling also allowed women to work as drivers for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Careem.

Source: Arab News


Indian police arrest alleged creator of app targeting Muslim women

January 7, 2022

NEW DELHI, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Indian police said on Thursday they had arrested a 20-year-old man they suspect created an online app that shared pictures of Muslim women for a virtual "auction", as an investigation into the case of communal harassment widened.

An open source app on the Github platform called 'Bulli Bai' - a derogatory term to describe Muslim women - had shared pictures of dozens of women without their consent before it was taken down.

K.P.S Malhotra, a police official in the capital New Delhi, said his team had arrested a 20-year-old engineering student from Jorhat in the eastern state of Assam after a probe that involved the state-run Computer Emergency Response Team.

"He is the person who had created the Bullibai app on Github. He had also created the Twitter handle @bullibai_ and other handles," Malhotra said.

Police in the western city of Mumbai, who are also investigating the app, have separately arrested three people this week, including two 21-year-old engineering students and an 18-year-old woman. read more

Mumbai police said they were investigating whether the app, which did not involve any actual auctioning of people, was part of a "larger conspiracy".

Several Indian Muslim journalists were targeted by the app, including Ismat Ara who filed and then shared on social media a police complaint on Sunday that said the app was "designed to insult Muslim women".

"After today's arrest by @DelhiPolice, I hope the culprits behind this elaborate harassment of Muslim women, including journalists like myself, will ultimately be caught & punished," Ara said in a tweet on Thursday.

Muslims account for around 14% of India's 1.3 billion population. Some sections of the community have been at odds with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration and Hindu right-wing supporters, including over a controversial 2019 citizenship law that triggered large-scale protests.

The youngest of those arrested so far is from the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. The 18-year-old began spending time on social media and made contact with Hindu right-wing users after finishing her school-leaving exams last year, a local police official who spoke to her earlier this week told Reuters.

The official, who declined to be named, said she had told him that her actions were based on Hindu right-wing ideology, which she had picked up on social media platforms, including Facebook (FB.O), WhatsApp and Twitter (TWTR.N).

"She came to social media to distract herself but she kept getting entangled in it," the official said.

Source: Reuters


Women’s periods may be slightly late after Covid vaccine: study

January 07, 2022

WASHINGTON: Women vaccinated against Covid-19 saw a slight delay in their period of almost a day compared to those who were unvaccinated, a US government-funded study said Thursday.

But the number of days of bleeding was not affected, according to the research carried out on nearly 4,000 individuals and published in “Obstetrics & Gynecology.”

Lead author Alison Edelman of the Oregon Health & Science University told AFP the effects are small and expected to be temporary, a finding that is “very reassuring” as well as validating for those who experienced changes.

The study can also help counter anti-vaccine misinformation on the topic, which is rampant on social media.

The slight increase in menstrual cycle length is not clinically significant. Any change of fewer than eight days is classified as normal by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.

Period cycles generally last about 28 days, but the precise amount varies from one woman to another, as well as within an individual’s lifetime. It can also change during times of stress.

For their study, the scientists analyzed anonymized data from a fertility tracking app, among women aged 18 to 45 who were not using hormonal contraception.

Some 2,400 participants were vaccinated — the majority with Pfizer (55 percent), followed by Moderna (35 percent) and Johnson & Johnson (seven percent).

About 1,500 unvaccinated women were also included as a comparison.

Among the vaccinated group, data was collected from three consecutive cycles before vaccination and from three more consecutive cycles, including the cycle or cycles in which vaccination took place.

For unvaccinated individuals, data was collected for six consecutive cycles.

On average, the first vaccine dose was associated with a 0.64-day increase in cycle length and the second dose with a 0.79-day increase, when comparing the vaccinated to unvaccinated group.

The immune system’s response to the vaccine could be behind the change.

“We know that the immune system and the reproductive system are interlinked,” said Edelman.

A revved-up immune system might have an impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis — what Edelman calls the “highway of how your brain talks to your ovaries, talks to your uterus,” or simply the “body clock.”

Specifically, the production of inflammatory proteins called cytokines appears to disrupt the way this axis regulates the timing of menstrual cycles.

The changes seem most pronounced when vaccination takes place early in the follicular phase, which starts on the first day of the menstrual period (bleeding) and ends when ovulation begins.

In fact, a subgroup of people who received two injections of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines during the same cycle, as opposed to two different cycles, saw an average increase in cycle length of two days — but the effect again appears temporary.

The team now hopes to gather more data on subsequent cycles among vaccinated women to confirm a long-term return to baseline, and expand the study globally so they can differentiate the effects between vaccine brands.

Source: Arab News



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