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

The Junior Bush in Iraq

Terri Judd reports on increasing violence against women in Iraq:

At first glance Shawbo Ali Rauf appears to be slumbering on the grass, her pale brown curls framing her face, her summer skirt spread about her. But the awkward position of her limbs and the splattered blood reveal the true horror of the scene.

The 19-year-old Iraqi was, according to her father, murdered by her own in-laws, who took her to a picnic area in Dokan and shot her seven times. Her crime was to have an unknown number on her mobile phone. Her “honour killing” is just one in a grotesque series emerging from Iraq, where activists speak of a “genocide” against women in the name of religion.

In the latest such case, it was reported yesterday that a 17-year-old girl, Rand Abdel-Qader, was stabbed to death last month by her father for becoming infatuated with a British soldier serving in southern Iraq.

In Basra alone, police acknowledge that 15 women a month are murdered for breaching Islamic dress codes. Campaigners insist it is a conservative figure.

Violence against women is rampant, rising every day with the power of the militias. Beheadings, rapes, beatings, suicides through self-immolation, genital mutilation, trafficking and child abuse masquerading as marriage of girls as young as nine are all on the increase.

Du’a Khalil Aswad, 17, from Nineveh, was executed by stoning in front of mob of 2,000 men for falling in love with a boy outside her Yazidi tribe. Mobile phone images of her broken body transmitted on the internet led to sectarian violence, international outrage and calls for reform. Her father, Khalil Aswad, speaking one year after her death in April last year, has revealed that none of those responsible had been prosecuted and his family remained “outcasts” in their own tribe.

[…]Despite the outrage, recent calls by the Kurdish MP Narmin Osman to outlaw honour killings have been blocked by fundamentalists. “Honour killings are not actually a crime in the eyes of the government,” said Houzan Mahmoud, who has had a fatwa on her head since raising a petition against the introduction of sharia law in Kurdistan. “If before there was one dictator persecuting people, now almost everyone is persecuting women.”

Terri Judd, Global Sisterhood Network

 

Rising Levels of Violence Against Women

Rising levels of violence against women in Iraq:

… recent calls by the Kurdish MP Narmin Osman to outlaw honour killings have been blocked by fundamentalists. “Honour killings are not actually a crime in the eyes of the government,” said Houzan Mahmoud, who has had a fatwa on her head since raising a petition against the introduction of sharia law in Kurdistan. “If before there was one dictator persecuting people, now almost everyone is persecuting women.

“In the past five years it is has got [much] worse. It is difficult to described how terrible it is, how badly we have been pushed back to the dark ages. Women are being beheaded for taking their veil off. Self immolation is rising – women are left with no choice. There is no government body or institution to provide any sort of support. Sharia law is being used to underpin government rule, denying women their most basic human rights.”

[…]

The new Iraqi constitution, according to Mrs Mahmoud, is a mass of confusing contradictions. While it states that men and women are equal under law it also decrees that sharia law – which considers one male witness worth two females – must be observed. The days when women could hold down key jobs or enjoy any freedom of movement are long gone. The fundamentalists have sent out too many chilling messages. In Mosul two years ago, eight women were beheaded in a terror campaign.

“It was really, really horrifying,” said Mrs Mahmoud. “Honour killings and murder are widespread. Thousands [of people] … have become victims of murder, violence and rape – all backed by laws, tribal customs and religious rules. We urge the international community, the government to condemn this barbaric practice, and help the women of Iraq.”

The Independent/UK