Divorce, Pakistani Style

In 2002, an amendment to the Pakistani 1964 Civil and Family Court Act reduced the mandatory reconciliation period for divorces requested by women to three months. Now, almost 50% of civil cases in Rawalpindi district are related to women seeking divorce.

Advocate Nasreen Akhtar, who specialises in family cases, says the amended law has made it easy for women to obtain divorce.

“It has made their life safer and more secure. Now women are more confident and their spouses more careful in their married life,” she remarks. She, nonetheless, stressed that women sought help from courts only after exhausting all means of reconciliation.

Iftikharun Nisa Hassan, director of the Women’s Research and Resource Centre, Fatima Jinnah Women’s University, sees the rise in divorce cases as the “awakening of women”.

“Today women are getting educated and securing jobs and are less inclined to put up with inhuman treatment by their husbands. They are financially viable and seek second marriages for a comfortable life,” she says. (source)

Muslim men can divorce their wives by saying “I divorce you” three times. The amendment is a step towards fairness that will provide some civilizing influence on Pakistan, and is already having beneficial effects.

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3 responses to “Divorce, Pakistani Style

  1. Muslim men can divorce their wives by saying “I divorce you” three times.

    Hey this seems fair right… versus a 3 month court process women go through.

    I shouldn’t complain. I know this a giant leap forward for women in that country.

  2. Being that I am morally opposed to easy divorce this is a tough subject for me. But it is definitely a step forward. To make it even, men should have to go through a three month cooling off (warming up???) period for divorce too.

    Combined with the recent change in the laws about rape makes two big steps forward.

    For those who weren’t aware of it, if a woman was raped in Pakistan and filed a complaint about it, then she had to have the testimony of four adult muslim men (in good standing) who witnessed the rape, or rape could not be proved. Not only did this make it difficult to prove rape, it left the woman open to charges of adultery. By charging rape she admitted she had intercourse, and if it was not rape then it must have been adultery.

    Naturally, under Sharia/Hudud law adultery is punishable by death by stoning (or sometimes, by jail).

    Anyway, the recent change in the law meant that the judge who got the case could decide whether a woman was tried under the old Sharia/Hudud law or under criminal law (descended from British law). Thus there is a chance that women who are raped won’t have to produce four male witnesses and won’t be put to death for adultery.

  3. I also don’t like easy divorce.. but… well you know.

    I was aware of that 4 witnesses requirement. Why does 3 witnesses seem familiar to me? Maybe its a different country?

    I can’t remember if those witness requirements are part of the Koran or Sharia or Hadita or… Its been a long time since I read them.