Pakistan’s Minorities Seek Family Laws

October 13, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Peninsula

When young school teacher Rajnesh Kumar, who was recently married, travels with his wife the hotels they stay at ask for a nikahnama or marriage certificate before handing over the keys.

But the problem is that in Pakistan, because of the absence of family laws for minorities no official document is issued in these cases. “It’s not just hotels but the police, who sometimes harass young couples at the seaside, also ask for marriage certificates,” Kumar says.

As there are no separate family laws for Parsis, Hindus, Christians and other minorities, which form about five percent of the population, marriage certificates, national identity cards, passports and other legal documents are sometimes hard to acquire if a relationship with their spouse needs to be proven.

This also leads to problems when there are matrimonial disputes, divorces, separations and property distribution. A woman who married her classmate despite objections from her family got divorced after two years also had trouble with the system. “There is no divorce in Hinduism and after many fights he divorced me but doesn’t pay alimony for our child,” she says, requesting anonymity.