The divorce laws in Pakistan have just been deemed “too easy” by noted Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jahangir. In her understanding of the judicial system of the troubled nation, she views such “easy” laws as responsible for ruining the lives of millions of women, which in turn is responsible for the growth of various societal problems.
The activist was delivering the 16th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture titled “Impact of laws and politics on women in Pakistan” on Friday. It was here that Jahangir said that the concept of the man being the provider for a family and the woman being a homemaker was still predominant in the Islamic state.
She went on to say:
“Divorce is the cheapest thing in Pakistan. A man has to just spent Rs 10 to send a letter of talaq to the union council and sleep over it. And then he automatically gets a divorce. In 80 per cent of such cases, women have got only Rs 32 as meher.”
Asma also pointed out rather candidly that Pakistani women were only allowed to approach the courts for a divorce if it was mentioned in the mehernama.
She also pointed out that wives were not granted equitable distribution of the husband’s assets, be it property or financial funds, bonds, etc.
Asma went on to say:
“I have always said there should be equitable distribution of property at the time of divorce. If they have to share assets every time, they won’t get married several times.”
Jahangir is recognized within and beyond the borders of her country as the first woman president of the Supreme Court Bar Association in Pakistan.
She has gone on record stating that being a women’s rights activist has worked against her since she is often subjected to misconduct of fundamentalist groups and individuals for allegedly “making the community more brazen”.
He added that small efforts on the parts of individuals to the caliber of Asma Jahangir have made the divorce laws in Pakistan look beyond the benefits of men, towards a more equitable separation.
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