Pakistani Citizenship Act discriminatory against women

December 20th, 2007 - 3:21 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Dec 20 (ANI): The Federal Shariat Court has declared that the Pakistani Citizenship Act, 1951, to be discriminatory against women and asked President Pervez Musharraf to amend it within six months.
The court asked the President to to caary out the amendments so that a womans foreign husband could get Pakistani citizenship, like foreign women married to Pakistani men. “We are of the view that Section 10 of the Citizenship Act is discriminatory, negates gender equality and is in violation of Articles 2-A (Objective Resolution) and 25 (equality of citizens) of the Constitution,” a 26-page judgment announced here.
It said that Section 10 of the Citizenship Act is also against international commitments of Pakistan and, most importantly, is repugnant to the Holy Quran and Sunnah. The three-member bench comprising FSC Chief Justice Haziqul Khairi, Justice Dr Fida Muhammad Khan and Justice Salahuddin Mirza had taken suo motu notice of a news report. According to the report, a woman was denied the right to get Pakistani citizenship for her foreign husband, though the law entitled a man to obtain citizenship for his alien wife. The decision came despite governments opposition on the grounds that a foreign woman marrying a Pakistani man could not be equated with a foreign man married to a Pakistani woman because it would legalise the stay of a large number of illegal immigrants. The government stated that the amendment to the law would add to unemployment and a foreign husband, after obtaining the citizenship, could divorce the woman and move around freely in the country. Besides, it would also be a blanket approval for all foreign nationals to marry Pakistani women and obtain nationality, and majority of them could even misuse this provision, especially Afghan refugees and illegal Bengali, Bihari and other South Asian immigrants. But the FSC judgement held that Pakistan was committed to giving equal and indiscriminate treatment to its women and to enforce equal rights, the Dawn reported. (ANI)

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