Marriage & Divorce in Pakistan

The first two question from a FAQ at the Pakistan Women’s Law Association:

Q 1. Can a man divorce his wife when she is pregnant?

Ans. Some religious scholars are of the opinion that a pregnant woman cannot be divorced. According to the Muslin Family Law Ordinance (MFL) the divorce will only become effective after the birth of the child.

Let me first explain the M.F.L Ordinance regarding divorce. According to MFL section 1 a person who wants to divorce his wife has to announce his intentions either verbally or in writing. After pronouncing divorce he must as soon as is possible notify the Chairman Panchayat Committee, in writing and also send a copy to his wife.

Any one who goes against the rules of sub section 1 is liable for punishment by imprisonment for up to a year or fined five thousand rupees or both.

Other than what is defined in sub section 5 of the MFL according to sub section 1, the divorce becomes effective after ninety days of notifying the Chairman of the Panchayat Committee.

According to sub section 1 after receiving notice of divorce, the Chairman will, within thirty days effect a reconciliation between the aggrieved parties. He will constitute a reconciliation council which will take all the necessary steps.

If the wife is pregnant at the time of the pronouncement of divorce, it does not become effective until after the birth or a termination of the pregnancy.

Q2. Can divorce take place in circumstances where the wife has not heard the pronouncement of the divorce and has no documentary proof and the divorce has been pronounced verbally only twice?

Ans. According to Fiqh Hanifia, divorce is of two kinds, one is called ‘Ahsan’ mode of divorce which is pronounced once every month for three months after each menstruation. The husband has to abstain from any physical contact with his wife during this time and the divorce then becomes effective after these three months.

The second method of divorce is the ‘Bid’at’ divorce. This according to Fiqh Hanifia, is when divorce is pronounced thrice in the same instance, and it becomes effective immediately. The mode of divorce dies not require any written documents, nor does it require the presence of witnesses. However this method of divorce has been severely frowned upon by the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and discouraged.

Other than this you have not clarified which Fiqh (sect) you belong to.

If you belong to the Sunni sect then your divorce is not final because the divorce has not been pronounced three times. If you belong to the Shia sect then divorce only becomes effective within three months.

In the Shia way, after pronouncement of divorce the Mullah will recite the ‘Segha’ between husband and wife in the presence of two witnesses and divorce is final after ninety days.

Besides this, legal proceedings are also necessary so that the divorce is legally final and according to the MFL Ordinance, notice has to be sent to the Chairman Panchayat Committee and the parties concerned.

So the answer to your question is that divorce is not final because it has not been pronounced three times, nor have any legal proceedings been initiated.

Now this is patriarchy.  Read the rest here

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