ISLAMABAD - Expressing regret over his “skirt” remark, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday in the open court observed “if the remarks have hurt the feelings of women in general and female litigators and litigants in particular, he deeply regrets the same.”

The chief justice said that the Supreme Court was conscious of its duties and would uphold the rights of women as well as alleviate their grievances, adding he had only quoted Winston Churchill, which was inappropriate on the occasion and he stood corrected.

During the speech on January 13 in Karachi, the CJP had quoted the former British prime minister, saying: “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”

Women Action Forum (WAF), Karachi, expressed concern over the CJP remarks and wrote a letter to Chief Justice Saqib Nisar in which they demanded that the CJP issue a public apology.

The WAF letter noted that the quote “reveals deep-rooted sexism and double standards women are held to which discourage women from joining the legal profession.”

It highlights the “rampant sexism” faced by female lawyers, which keep them away from the courts, and says that the absence of women judges in the Supreme Court “proves the fact that women face extraordinary challenges in this profession.”

“Statements that dehumanise and objectify women are not only derogatory and demeaning towards women but also contribute to the victim-blaming culture, which is the biggest impediment in fighting crimes committed against women,” the letter said.