Noted Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jahangir on Friday said that easy divorce under the present matrimonial law in her country is ruining the lives of millions of women, leading to various societal problems.
Delivering the 16th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture on 'Impact of law and politics on women in Pakistan', Jahangir said the concept of man as the provider and woman as the up bringer of children and homemaker was still prevalent in the Islamic state.
“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’,” Jahangir said.
She added women were permitted to move for divorce only if it was mentioned in the ‘mehernama’.
Jahangir lamented that women were discriminated against in property rights as well.
"I have always said there should be equitable distribution of property at the time of divorce," she said.
This, Jahangir added, can work as a check on polygamy. "If they have to share assets every time, they won't get married several times," she said.
Jahangir, who has the distinction of being the first woman president of the Supreme Court Bar Association in Pakistan, said being a women's rights activist has worked against her and often she had to face fundamentalists' ire for what they alleged "making the community more brazen".
Supreme court judge Justice Altamas Kabir said even in India women had to face many kinds of discrimination in the society.
He, however, said small efforts on part of individuals such as Asma Jahangir has led many positive changes in societies across the globe.