The year 2020 has been a topsy-turvy journey for the world, and Pakistan is not an exception. The detriments and perils brought by 2020 are myriad, and the burgeoning divorce tide is one among others.
With Bill Gates and Melinda’s divorce, “divorce” is again a topical subject among the masses. Unequivocally, it must be. The aforementioned case makes it obvious that there are multiple factors behind it, and among all economic constraints remain the topmost.
The most instigating factor which makes it noteworthy in Pakistan’s context is its unprecedented augmentation of 722% in divorce cases. In 2020, around 5,200 cases were instituted in the family courts of Sindh. In contrast to this, the previous year, only 632 cases of khula were filed.
Ergo, the formidable numbers are depicting, how the cases of divorce are increasing in Pakistan. Holistically, the situation in other provinces is much or less the same. The said stats only justify the number of cases of khula, the issues which take towards it are still egregious.
Read more: The dynamics of Judicial Khula In Pakistan
Talaq according to the law
Pakistan’s law recognizes the separation of spouses through two processes: talaq and khula. The erstwhile being easy and usually, the right granted to male to end the marriage, whereas the latter one being tough and lengthy and only granted to women to end the marriage. The woman would seek khula through the court under the grounds mentioned in section 2 of “Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939”.
Under the shade of Talaq, there’s also Talaq-i-Tafweez, the right delegated to a woman to end the marriage, despite that it is consistent with Islamic injunctions, it is not counted as feasible in most of the areas of Pakistan.
Read more: This is how women should ask for rights
Talaq is dealt with under sections 7 and 8 of “Muslim Family Law Ordinance, 1961”. On the pronouncement of Talaq, a notice would be sent by the male spouse to the Union Council and the same would create an arbitration council for reconciliation, however, failure to reconciliation would render Talaq effective after 90 days. Ergo, Talaq is pronounced by man and Talaq-i-Tafweez goes through the above-mentioned process.
Then comes “Mubarat” which is when husband and wife end the marital status by mutual consent. In this case, no arbitration council would be created on notice, and the separation would be effective. However, all of them fall under the same umbrella: separate spouses.
Why the high rates of divorce?
The reasons that are working stumbling-block in Pakistan are manifold. The first and foremost is illiteracy that bolsters other ills of society. For instance, no male child, unemployment, financial constraints, lack of awareness of his/her rights, among others.
During COVID-19, the fuel was fired by domestic violence and economic constraints. Moreover, months ago, Imran Khan – the prime minister of Pakistan – commanded the family system of Pakistan. However, the numbers are alarming according to his statement.
Anatol Lieven maintains in his book “Pakistan: A Hard Country” that many families in Pakistan run on the notion of clans and kinship groups, to say in laymen terms, they live as extended families that according to research published by Horizon Research Publishing (HRPUB), remain detrimental to the families and spouses.
Adding fuel to the fire
At the end of the last month, a private bill was submitted in the Assembly of Sindh – Sindh Compulsory Marriage Act 2021 – that aims to make marriage compulsory by the age of 18, and failure to this (without any reliable justification), will make the parents liable to pay Rs 500 as fine. The bill is nothing but a frivolous piece. Likewise, with many other bills, it is merely a piece of paper without implementation.
At the said age, teens complete their intermediate. Thus, to take an important decision of life, responsibilities a marriage confers and to win a bread in a country which is already suffering from unemployment would just augment the above-mentioned divorce numbers.
To wrap up, it is significant that divorce cases in Pakistan are constantly increasing every year. The unawareness of laws, socially constructed norms and ideas, and insufficient knowledge of Nikkahnama’s importance caters to most of the problems and hurdles to the people.
In the mid of this, bringing preposterous bills on the table would just add fuel to the fire and would boost up social evils that would eventually become the reason for ending a family.
The writer is a lawyer and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.