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

Moyers’ Memorial Day

How to Honour US War Dead on Memorial Day Weekend

Bill Moyer’s Journal

From NYT:

In every way, this president has tried to hide the war. The press chafes because photos of flag-draped coffins are forbidden. But that’s nothing compared to how this administration is trying to turn the public’s eyes away from the pain of the people who feel it most directly, the soldiers and their families.

Suicide rates among returning veterans are soaring. And the administration’s response? Cover up the data. An e-mail titled “Shh!” surfaced earlier this month from Dr. Ira Katz, a top official at the V.A. The note indicated that far more veterans were trying to kill themselves than the administration had let on. It speaks for itself.

“Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans we see,” Katz wrote, in a note not meant for the general public. “Is this something we should address ourselves in some sort of release before someone stumbles upon it?”

Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat of Washington, who has made veterans affairs her specialty, was furious. “They lied about these numbers,” Murray told me. “It breaks my heart. Soldiers tell us that they were taught how to go to war, but not how to come home. You hear about divorces, binge-drinking, post-traumatic stress, suicide. And the reaction from the president is part of a pattern from the very beginning to show that this war is not costly or consequential.”

And from Salon:

A February report by the Army’s Mental Health Advisory Team said that nearly a third of married enlisted men and more than a fifth of married noncommissioned officers were planning to get a divorce by the end of their 15-month deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. The divorce rate among enlisted soldiers has risen from 2.3 percent in 2001 to 3.5 percent today.