Save Laaleen's right of divorce
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I have written this independently as a woman trying to divorce a man for the last eighteen months and being denied a basic human right. I demand urgent assistance and swift justice.
You can sign this no matter where you are because humanity is universal. This petition has 4 objectives:
- To ask for an end to the option to cross out a woman's right of divorce in the nikkah naama (marriage contract). What's the point of providing a right when it's so commonly revoked?
- For the Lahore Cantonment Union Council to finally issue my divorce certificate.
- To raise awareness and stop the rampant practice of crossing out the bride's right of divorce section in marriage contracts.
- To demand that the dishonest testimony of a so-called cleric be dismissed and for him to be penalised for perjury to prevent future miscarriage of justice (described below).
On the night of June 25th, 2005, I was married to Sohail Zarar Ali Khan of Islamabad, Pakistan. The wedding took place in Lahore, Pakistan.
About 800 of you were there when we signed our marriage contract. My right of divorce was not crossed out, as is the practice among more ignorant members of our society who try to curtail women's basic rights as equal human beings. I wanted to honour the blood, sweat and tears that were shed to give Pakistani women this basic right in their nikkah naamas.
I entered marriage with the hope that it would last forever. It did not. Subsequently, I filed for divorce in January 2017. The Lahore Cantonment Union Council on Walton Road has a copy of the contract with the right of divorce intact.
However, Islamabad District Court issued a Stay Order preventing the Lahore Cantonment Union Council from issuing my divorce certificate. (Please note Islamabad has no jurisdicion over Lahore: I am a resident of Lahore and all my cases are in Lahore courts. My last case in Islamabad has ended at Islamabad High Court with a verdict due any day now).
The cleric who officiated the nikkah ceremony shockingly claimed in court that the right of divorce was a forgery despite witnesses who can attest otherwise--in other words, it hadn't been crossed out from the marriage contract. I cannot comprehend how one can "forge" something that has not been crossed out. This cleric is based out of a mosque in DHA, Lahore and obviously lacks integrity.
I have been waiting for eighteen months for my divorce. I am not the first nor the last woman to suffer this injustice, indignity, and perversion of the law--unless YOU support me. Let's set a precedent and change this archaic practice of crossing out a woman's basic right from a marriage document. Why is this even an option in the first place?
For those of you who attended my wedding and offered your blessings, I am asking for those same blessings right now. Stand with me and do not let vicious lies triumph over truth and justice. You were there when I signed the marriage documents. You know me too well to know I would never cross out a basic human right that ethically belongs to every human being.
Let's do the right thing and set a precedent. PLEASE.
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