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Family Law in Pakistan

Pakistan is a country with a diverse cultural heritage. The system family law in Pakistan is based on the Islamic Sharia law. Islamic marriage and family law are based on the principle of male superiority over women and children. Pakistani laws do not recognize married women’s rights to own or inherit property. Women are also prohibited from appearing in public without permission from their husband or a male relative. In some cases, husbands can unilaterally divorce their wives. Also Read Adulthood age according to Pakistan Law

Pakistan’s family law has been shaped by the country’s unique history and Muslim faith. The personal status of Muslims is governed by the Sharia, which is based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah, or example of the Prophet Muhammad. Pakistan’s family law is also influenced by English common law and Indian Hindu law.

The Sharia regulates all aspects of Muslim life, including marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody. In general, the Sharia favors men over women in these matters. For example, men are typically granted custody of children after a divorce, and they may inherit twice as much as women. However, there are some provisions in the Sharia that benefit women, such as the right to own property and to receive maintenance from their former husbands after a divorce.

The most important feature of Pakistani family law is its strong emphasis on marriage.


Family law in Pakistan is based on Islamic law and the personal status law of each religious community. There are separate codes of personal status for Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and other religious communities. The family law system in Pakistan is based on the principle of territoriality; that is, the personal status law of the religious community to which a person belongs is applied regardless of the person’s place of residence.

The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 and subsequent amendments regulate family law for Muslims in Pakistan. The Christian Family Laws Ordinance 1984 and Hindu Marriage Act 1955 regulate family law for Christians and Hindus, respectively. These ordinances were enacted to replace the customary laws that were in force prior to their enactment.

Under Pakistani family law, marriage is a contract between a man and a woman. Both parties must be able to consent to marriage and must have reached puberty.

Marriage Age in Pakistan

There is no specific marriage age in Pakistan, but the legal minimum age for marriage is 16 for girls and 18 for boys. However, child marriage is still very common in Pakistan, with over one-third of married women aged 15-19. There are many reasons for this, including poverty, lack of education, and Tradition. Girls who marry young often have little control over their own lives and are more likely to experience violence and abuse. They are also at risk of health problems related to early pregnancy and childbirth. Ending child marriage is critical to ensuring that girls can reach their full potential and contribute to their families and communities.

Registration of Marriage

When a Muslim couple wants to get married in Pakistan, there are certain legal procedures that they must go through. The first step is to get registered with the union council. This is the local government body that is responsible for registering marriages and issuing marriage certificates. couples must provide proof of their identity, as well as the identity of their parents or guardians. They must also provide proof of their religious affiliation. A marriage certificate will be issued once all of the required documents have been submitted and approved.

Polygamous Marriage

In Pakistan, polygamy is legal and allowed under certain circumstances. A man is allowed to have up to four wives, as long as he can provide for them financially and equally. If a man cannot provide for his multiple wives, then he may be charged with neglect or abuse. Polygamous marriages are most common in rural areas of Pakistan where poverty is rampant. In these areas, a man may take on additional wives in order to increase the size of his household and ensure that all his children are taken care of.

Divorce/talaq by Husband

Under Muslim personal law, a husband has the right to unilaterally divorce his wife by uttering the word “talaq” (Arabic for “divorce”) three times. This right has been controversial since its inception, with some arguing that it unfairly favors men over women. Critics also argue that the practice can be abused, as husbands can use it to arbitrarily divorce their wives without any justification. In response to these criticisms, some Muslim scholars have argued that talaq should only be used in cases of marital discord and not as a way to end a marriage casually. Others have proposed reforms to make the process more equitable for women. Despite these debates, the unilateral divorce process remains in place in many Muslim countries.

Judicial Divorce in Pakistan

Divorce is a legal process whereby a marriage is dissolved and the parties are freed from the obligations of marriage. In Pakistan, there are two types of divorces- judicial and khula. Judicial divorce is a type of divorce where the grounds for divorce are established by the court. Khula is a type of divorce where the wife can seek to dissolve the marriage by returning her dowry to her husband. The grounds for khula are not as well-defined as judicial divorce. In order to obtain a judicial divorce in Pakistan, one of the spouses must file a petition with the court stating that they have been living separately for at least two years and there is no chance of reconciliation. The court will then hold a hearing to determine whether or not to grant the divorce. If granted, the spouses are free to remarry.


The Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 (20 of 1939) was an Act of the Parliament of India. The Act provided for the dissolution of Muslim marriages by a decree of divorce pronounced by a court. It also provided for the custody, maintenance and education of children born out of such marriages. 

The Act was repealed by the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.


child custody family law in Pakistan

Pakistan is a Muslim-majority country, and according to Sharia law, fathers have custody of children until they reach the age of puberty. After puberty, custody transfers to the mother unless there is a reason for the father to retain custody. In practice, however, many decisions about child custody are made based on tribal customs or financial considerations rather than on religious law.
Women in Pakistan often face discrimination in the courts when seeking child custody. Judges are more likely to award custody to the father, even if he is abusive, than to the mother. Women who do win child custody often find that they are not able to enforce court orders against an uncooperative husband. As a result, many women give up their legal right to child custody in order to avoid protracted and expensive legal battles.


The Qanun-e-Hahadat (Law of Evidence) Order, 1984 was promulgated on October 10, 1984 to provide for the admissibility of evidence in criminal proceedings in Pakistan. The law regulates the presentation of evidence by the prosecution and the defense, and also lays down the rules for documentary evidence, examination of witnesses, and cross-examination.

Under the order, all evidence must be relevant to the facts in issue and must be duly proved by oral or documentary evidence. The order also allows for exclusion of irrelevant or immaterial evidence from trial. In addition, it requires that all witnesses be subject to cross-examination.

The Qanun-e-Hahadat (Law of Evidence) Order is a significant piece of legislation that has helped to ensure fair trials in Pakistan.


The Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979 is a Pakistani law that criminalizes extramarital sex. The law provides for the death penalty for those convicted of zina, and 100 lashes for those convicted of adultery. The ordinance also criminalizes rape, with a punishment of death or imprisonment for life. In March 2006, the Pakistani parliament voted to repeal the death penalty for zina, but maintained the punishment of 100 lashes.


The Enforcement of Sharia Act, 1991 is a law in Pakistan that allows for the enforcement of Sharia law in the country. The act was passed in response to a rise in religious extremism and violence in the country. The act allows for religious scholars to interpret Sharia law and to pass judgement on cases that fall under its jurisdiction. The act has been criticized for leading to human rights abuses, particularly against women and religious minorities.


Family law in Pakistan is in a state of disrepair. The institution of marriage is not given the respect it deserves, and the rights of women are often not taken into account. This needs to change if Pakistan is to move forward as a country. I urge the government of Pakistan to take steps to improve the state of family law, and to ensure that the rights of all citizens are respected.