LAHORE - Yousaf Saleem, a lawyer, became country’s first vision-impaired judge and took oath of his office on Tuesday.

He took oath of his office along with 20 other civil judges who passed the written exam out of 3648 candidates in Punjab this January. The oath ceremony was held at the Punjab Judiciary Academy while Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali administered oath to the participants.

Saleem, who belongs to Lahore, was first denied the position despite being topper in the exam for civil judges but was considered for the same post after Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took notice of it.   The CJP had directed the Lahore High Court to review the case of Yousaf Saleem, observing that a blind person can become a judge provided he meets all other qualification. Saleem received the call letter on May 12 with a message, “You are informed that the Honorable Examination Committee for Recruitment of District Judiciary and Lahore High Court Establishment has recommended you for appointment as Civil Judge-cum-Magistrate.”

Yousaf is son of charted accountant and is visually impaired by birth. He has four sisters and two of them are also visually impaired. Disability did not become hurdle in the way of Yousaf. His sister Saima Saleem became first visually impaired civil servant in 2007 and she is currently serving with PMSecretariat while another sister is a university lecturer.  The other civil judges who took oath include Sardar Umar Hassan Khan, Saba Qamar, Naseem Akhtar Naz, Maira Hassan, Qamar Abbas, Ihsan Nawaz, M Bilal, M Amir Sultan Kolachi, M Abbas, Sumaira Jabbar, Ali Raza, Bilal Khan, M Tariq, Rasheed Khan, Obaid Hassan, Sana Afzal, Mansoor Ahmad, Allah Nawaz, Zubair Sabir,  Javed Iqbal and Shaheen Noor.  Senior judge Justice Anwarul Haq, LHC registrar Bahadur Ali Khan, Directorate District Judiciary DG Abdul Jabbar and District & Sessions Judge Establishment Sardar Tahir Sabir and Punjab Judiciary Academy DG Fakhar Hayat were also present.