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Pakistan judge forbids Muslim veils in courtroom

[JURIST] A top Pakistani judge has forbidden female lawyers to wear the Muslim hijab [III&E backgrounder; JURIST news archive] (veil) in his courtroom, according to the Saturday edition of Pakistan's Daily Times [media website] newspaper. The Times quotes Chief Justice Tariq Pervaiz Khan [official profile] of the Peshawar High Court [official website] as telling veiled lawyer Raees Anjum, "You are professionals and should be dressed as required of lawyers... We (judges) cannot identify veiled woman lawyers and suspect that veiled lawyers appear to seek adjournment of proceedings in other lawyers' cases." Khan added that he could barely hear Anjum speak from behind her covering.

Anjum, who considers herself "a progressive Muslim woman... living and working in this conservative society", told the Times after her admonishment. "I was embarrassed when the chief justice asked me not to wear veil in courtrooms. I feel more confident in my hijab... [It] reflects a woman's modesty". She pointed out that the local government is divided on the issue of veiled professionals. While Khan has forbidden them, several female judges in Peshawar's North West Frontier Province wear the hijab during proceedings, as do all female legislators in the region's dominant political party. IANS has more.

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