Living with a disability is a struggle that none of us can imagine. But still, there are warriors who lead this fight with such grace that nothing can stand in the way of their ambitions. One of those real-life heroes is Yousaf Saleem who had one dream – to become Chief Justice of Pakistan.
Blind by birth, Yousaf is a gold medalist from University of Punjab, LLB (Hons) program. After completing his degree in 2014, three years later he gave exam for the position of civil judge and stood first. However, his dream went dark when he was rejected in the interview because of his impairment. Even having all the qualities and meeting the eligibility criteria of the position i.e. Law degree from a recognized university, two-year experience as practising lawyer and age between 22 – 35 years, his disability got in the way of fulfilling his dreams. Although, physical disability is NOT a reason to deny someone the opportunity as 3% quota is reserved for them.
During the interview process, his entire achievements were nullified when all the questions revolved around his inability to perform well as a judge because he couldn’t see. He’s working as assistant director (legal) in a department of Punjab Government but despite his experience on the civil side, the questions were more inclined towards the criminal side.
The panel asked him how will he decipher demeanour of witness or see if the same person is testifying as a list of witnesses or how will he assist the documents to which he replied that he can take help from his staff and also, all the cases that a judge sees are not of criminal nature. Even after this discriminatory treatment, Yousaf has not given up his dreams and says that Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar should take notice.
Yousaf has four sisters and two of them are also blind. However, none of his siblings has led this come in their way. His sister Saima Saleem is the first blind person to clear CSS back in 2007. She stood sixth in the exam and chose foreign services. She also is a gold medalist from Kinnard College.
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