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Pakistan: Circumstances under which a woman has the right to get a divorce through the courts (judicial divorce) through her own initiative (May 2005)

Publisher Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Ottawa
Publication Date 20 July 2005
Citation / Document Symbol PAK100055.E
Reference 7
Cite as Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Pakistan: Circumstances under which a woman has the right to get a divorce through the courts (judicial divorce) through her own initiative (May 2005), 20 July 2005, PAK100055.E, available at: [accessed 24 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The following information was provided in 16 May 2005 correspondence to the Research Directorate by a Karachi-based lawyer:

[a] woman in Pakistan has [an] absolute and unconditional right to file an application for judicial divorce in a Court of law if she believes that she cannot live with the husband anymore [and] having developed bad feelings. Sometimes such a right of divorce is mentioned in the marriage deed/certificate. Such [a] right has to be delegated by the husband to the wife at the time of marriage and is to be incorporated in the marriage deed.

Similarly, 24 May 2005 correspondence on behalf of the Joint Director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) indicated that

[a] woman can claim her right to divorce in two ways:

a) Khula: A woman can obtain [a] divorce through the court, which is called 'Khula'. In this case she has to establish hatred and the fact that the basic norms of living together are not being fulfilled.

b) Tafweez-e-haq-e-Talaq: This is a clause in the Nikah (Nuptial Agreement) translated as 'Delegation of right to divorce'. If a woman signs this clause when getting married, she can claim it later on in case of dissatisfaction with her marriage and can subsequently ask for divorce just the way her husband can.

Additional information on the circumstances under which a woman has the right to get a divorce through the courts through her own initiative could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Joint Director, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). 24 May 2005. Correspondence.

Lawyer, Karachi. 16 May 2005. Correspondence.

Additional Sources Consulted

A second Karachi-based lawyer did not respond to a letter requesting information.

Internet sites, including: BBC, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004, Dawn, European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan,, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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