Despite changing and developing the status of a woman from daughter to wife and wife to mother, she has been assured of her maintenance by the men regardless of his status as father; brother; husband or son being capable of earning.
This has been the reason that every touch-stone of measuring “respect” of a man has not been attached to his poverty or wealth but as stated by the Holy Prophet PBUH that:
“Among you the most respectable is the one who respects women and the most disrespectful is the one who disrespects the women”
The Holy Prophet also said
“It is the generous (in character) who is good to women and it is the wicked who insults them”.
One must remember that when a woman agrees to part with her status as daughter so as to step into status as wife, she relieves her father/brother from her maintenance/care, which duty is presumed to have been taken by the man being husband, once he accepts her in her Nikah.
Such an agreement not only requires the husband to maintain her but to give due respect to the wife. Respect shall always include the dignity of woman and if she is compelled to step out on ‘road’ certainly certain privileges, which she in all circumstances enjoys, shall stand prejudiced.
It is also divinely instructed that:-
“And live with them honourably” (Al-Nisaa 4:19)
It may well be added that driving a woman out of the house would certainly expose her to “Namahrams” who otherwise are not permitted to come in contact with a “woman”.
If a man does not legally part with his status as husband, he legally is believed to continue discharging all his obligations which he owned at the time of Nikah/marriage.
The term “maintenance” would never find its true meaning by throwing some money at her or expecting her parents to take care of her but it shall always include all which are necessary to complete the term “life”.
However, this shall never give any undue advantage to woman because such obligation is well balanced:
“Let the rich man spend according to his means; and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him” (al-Talaaq 65:7)
The accommodation is a necessary part of the maintenance, hence if a man for any reason wants a temporary separation, he is not expected to deprive her of any right which does include accommodation.
It may be added that divine advice for a ‘man’ (husband) even while divorcing his wife is:
“Lodge them (divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means” (al-Talaaq 65:6)
However, it is an irony that we experience such incidents on a regular basis which the man dares to do while wrongly interpreting certain privileges, given to man only.
Keeping above in view, it must be added that since the “state” has been given the ultimate status of “guardian” therefore, if there is any such infringements then it is the state which should be available thereby ensuring temporary arrangement couple with a complete mechanism.
No law allows one to become victim of cruelty merely for the reason of his/her being a women, child, old aged and infirm rather directs all relations such as husband, and son of an old aged and infirm parent to show love at such time of their life by ensuring all privileges of life to them.
This has always been the divine direction in all religion and expectation from every civilized culture and society.
It is enacted to provide protection to the weakest class of society i.e ‘women and children” as, normally, we are carrying a presumption of living a “male dominant society” where aggrieved even does not dare to tell about “domestic violence” because of threats of being abandoned or dispossessed/removed from household.
One of the aims of the law is also to ensure immediate interim relief to an aggrieved from being dispossessed/removed from household but also:
- Compensation to the aggrieved person for suffering as a consequence of economic abuse to be determined by the court;
- Loss of earning;
- Medical expense;
- The loss caused due to the destruction, damage or removal of any property from the control of the aggrieved person; and
- The maintenance for the aggrieved person as well her children, if any, including an order under or in addition to an order of maintenance under family laws.
Couple with direction to pay monetary relief to the person aggrieved within the period specified, as directed in accordance with law.
Accordingly, a sail even cursory to the relevant Articles of Constitution of Pakistan delivers that:
- i) Articles 26 and 27 provide for equal access to public places and equality of employment in the public and private sector;
ii) Articles 11 and 37 (g) prohibit trafficking in human beings as well as prostitution;
- Article 32 makes special provisions for the representation of women in local Government;
- Article 34 directs the state to take appropriate measures to enable women to participate in all spheres of life and social activities;
- Article 35 asks the state to protect the marriage, the family, the mother and the child;
- Article 37(e) directs the state to make provisions for securing just and humane conditions of work ensuring that children and women are not employed in vocations unsuited to their age or sex, and for ensuring maternity benefits for women in employment;
- Articles 51 and 106 provide for the reservation of seats for women in the legislatures.
The continuity of the poor status of women in our society reflects complete negation of legislation with regard to women laws, aimed at achieving the desired ‘object’.
The scope of Women in Distress and Detention Fund Act, 1996 was aimed to ‘rehabilitate’ by providing legal assistance, jobs and shelter even to those women who are:
- i) under trial, convicted or detained in Dar-ul-Aman; ii) disabled; iii) suffering from serious ailments, including mental ailment; iv) victims of burn cases;
- v) distress women and their minor children, if they are in need of shelter; vi) seriously maltreated by their husband(s);
Our claim of being civilized society; dictates of pro-women laws and even decrees of Shariah should have eliminated all said evils and there should have remained no single custom or usage degrading/lowering the women or depriving their guaranteed rights to have a fair trial against any charge (allegation) but details as given above reflects different scenario that:
- i) holding JIRGAs; ii) illegal decree(s) in such JIRGAs; iii) rape(s) of women in name of compensation; iv) awarding women, even minor ones, as budl-e-sulh;
- v) throwing/sprinkling of acid etc. on faces of women even at public places;
is routine practice particularly in the backward area of certain regions, therefore judicial propriety demands to examine this issue seriously with a view to ensure strict application of law and to curb these illegal activities.
Most of the offences against women are the result of so- called custom or usage which allow holding of ‘JIRGAs’ or illegal and inhuman decisions taken in the name of ‘Ghairat’ etc.