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Sat, Feb 16, 2019
  1. Khalid Zahid: Transforming Saudi Art
  2. Now Walk the Talk, Imran
  3. Violence against Minorities
  4. Unsheltered
  5. Lumbering Giant with a Midget’s Mentality
  6. How to Encourage Terrorism
  7. Faisalabad in 2028
  8. Mental Illness & the Progress of a Nation
  9. Child Sexual Abuse
  10. Living amongst the clouds : Aalia Bux
  11. Mental health – What soldiers can teach us
  12. Many Cookies still to Crumble
  13. Steering Through Turbulence
  14. ExxonMobil – Close to hitting huge oil reserves in Pakistan, bigger than Kuwait’s
  15. NAYA PAKISTAN?
  16. Making ADR work for Women
  17. Women’s Rights under Family Law
  18. Shutting the Door on Refugees
  19. Water Challenges and Opportunities
  20. In Conversation with Dr. Ghulam Rasul on Hydrology
  21. In Conversation with Shafqat kakakhel: Internal Water Management Practices
  22. Come on Skipper !
  23. GUMM
  24. Annus Horibilis
  25. The Inhumanity of Pakistan’s Coal Industry
  26. Iran Nuclear Deal The U.S Withdrawal
  27. Method in the Madness
  28. Legal System Reforms
  29. Power Over Impulse
  30. Refugees and Migrants are People too
  31. PTCL – A Nonstop Journey Towards Excellence
  32. Gulgee – The Last of The Greats
  33. Patrik Hoffmann – Sonraj
  34. Pakistan’s Primordial Hindu Heritage
  35. Pakistan’s Migrant Tragedy
  36. PTCL – Fastest Growing Brand in Pakistan
  37. Keep Pakistan’s Wagon Hitched To The China Star
  38. Anique’s Chocolate Cake
  39. Selfless & Fearless – Lahore Qalandars
  40. NEWS PICKS
  41. Intellectual Property and Tourism
  42. Fitness with the Mughal
  43. REBEL WITH A CAUSE
  44. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-1)
  45. Mummy’s Recipes Roast Chicken & Veg
  46. ENGAGING HEADS HEARTS AND HANDS
  47. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-2)
  48. Q & A with Star of Parchi
  49. Addressing Sexual Abuse
  50. Q & A with EMAN ZAEEM & MEHR SAAD
  51. Pakistan’s Lost Children
  52. ENGLAND AND THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
  53. STICK WITH FRIENDS AND DITCH THE ENEMIES
  54. The Phenomenon that Stephen Hawking was!
  55. In Conversation with ANUSHAY ZEESHAN
  56. Q & A with owner of District 6 – Anum Rafat
  57. Ali Rehman Khan – Naturally A Star
  58. MUNIBA`S Call for Tolerance & Justice
  59. Q&A Muniba Mazari
  60. Health Quotient (Dental health)
  61. Money for nothing, bits for free
  62. FinTech
  63. TRADING THREATS OF WAR
  64. Crisis of Civilization
  65. Child Sexual Abuse
  66. Education is the only Solution
  67. Fit for Purpose
  68. BLUE CHIP TALKS TO THE CREATOR OF TEETOO AND TANIA
  69. Mini meringue recipe
  70. NEW ANIMATED TV SERIES PAKISTANI
  71. Changing the Perception of Public Transport Motorway Express
  72. AUSTENISTAN DEBUTS WITH ELEGANCE AND ENTHUSIASM
  73. PAKISTAN’S WOMEN OF 2017
  74. THE BEAUTY IN BUSINESS
  75. PERCEPTIONS ARE ALSO REALITY
  76. Blue Chip Q/A with Atiqa Odho
  77. Five major political events of 2017
  78. WHAT DOES TRUMP’S TWEET MEAN FOR CPEC AND THE REGION
  79. THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IN 2017
  80. AFGHANISTAN GOING DOWNHILL
  81. 2017 FOR PSX – THE CLIMB AND THE DECLINE
  82. What we can learn from Ghalib
  83. QUINOA SALAD WITH THAI DRESSING

During an apprenticeship with a family law specialist, I encountered numerous married women, seeking divorce, most of them having heart-wrenching stories. It was at this time that I realised the importance of legal awareness about the right to divorce, entitlements, maintenance and avenues for legal redress and more broadly, the importance of girls’ education, empowerment and rights, as these have far reaching implications.

A Nikahnama is a legally binding civil contract that lays out rights and obligations agreed upon by both parties. It plays a pivotal role in upholding the rights of women after marriage. However, seldom do we treat this agreement with the importance and vigilance that it deserves. Most brides simply sign their names without so much as reading it first and most families remain oblivious to the implications it holds for the future. There is a dire need to spread awareness about the clauses that exist within this document.

Muslim law knows various forms of dissolution of marriage. Talaq refers to the husband’s unilateral right to terminate the marital tie. The common perception is that Islam does not allow women the right to divorce. However, Section 18 of the Nikahnama allows the wife the right to divorce if she wishes to, known as the Talaq-e-Tafweez.

A woman will often seek a Khula which is not the same thing as divorce, it allows a woman to retain her rights over the dower amount, maintenance or alimony. However, Section 18 is rarely invoked and a woman’s right to divorce is simply dismissed, viewed as taboo and contrary to tradition.

The clause is often struck out by the individual solemnising the Nikah and sometimes by the bride’s own relatives.

Clause 13 pertains to dower or Mehr, which is a sum of money or other property which becomes payable by the husband to the wife as an effect of marriage. It may consist of anything that can be valued in money, is useful and ritually clean. Mehr can be classified into “prompt” or “deferred” dower. The former is payable immediately on marriage whereas the latter is payable on the dissolution of the marriage by death or divorce, or under specific circumstances. Mehr is wholly and solely the wife’s right and must be paid, even if she waives her right to receive it because under Islamic law, a pre-nuptial agreement releasing the husband from his obligation to provide the wife with dower is regarded as a void contract.

Clause 17 allows both parties to stipulate any special terms or conditions they deem necessary such as the right to work or study, allowance, progeny custody, alimony, pocket money, house work, divorce conditions and so on. It gives the parties complete freedom to tailor their marriage as per their wishes. Unfortunately, this section is often left unfilled.

The last of these crucial sections pertains to polygamy. Clauses 21-22 clearly articulate that the husband may only marry a second woman after getting permission from the first wife. The Pakistani law on Muslim polygamy was subjected to reform in the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961. A man must obtain the permission of his local Union Council stating his reasons for seeking to marry another wife and whether or not the existing wife has consented. However, the provision seems to be futile, and totally ineffective. The restriction appears to be a formality whose violation carries almost no legal sanctions. There is a need for stricter laws with regard to husbands who violate this covenant of the law with impunity.

The Quran gives specific instructions in matters of inheritance, marriage, divorce, etc. There is no lack of laws regarding women’s right to divorce, but a lack of awareness and will to implement. There is a need to educate society so that women get legal protection under the law. In a country so charged with human suffering, there exists the need for people to stand in solidarity and fight for the marginalised communities.

By Leena Nishtar

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