Karachi, Sept 25 : Members belonging to minority communities in Pakistan like Hindus, Christians, Parsis, want a change in the laws to lessen their miseries. In the absence of proper family laws to protect their interests in the country, Hindu couples are often harassed by the Police on lame pretexts like not carrying marriage certificates to prove their marriage, or holding proper national identity cards to prove their identities.
The Hindu Law introduced by the British government in 1946 has not still been officially included in Pakistan's judicial system.
As a result, legally wedded couples belonging to minority communities are not allowed to hire hotel rooms or move freely at public places before they prove marriage with a nikahnama.
"It's not just hotels but the police, who some times harass young couples at the seaside, also ask for marriage certificates," said Rajnesh Kumar, a newly married school teacher who faced problems in occupying hotel while traveling with his wife.
As there are no separate family laws for Parsis, Hindus, Christians and other minorities, which form about five percent of the population, marriage certificates, national identity cards, passports and other legal documents are sometimes hard to acquire if a relationship with their spouse needs to be proven. This also leads to problems when there are matrimonial disputes, divorces, separations and property distribution, reported the Daily Times.
Citing another example, the paper reported that a woman who married her classmate despite objections from her family got divorced after two years also had trouble with the system. "There is no divorce in Hinduism and after many fights he divorced me but doesn't pay alimony for our child," the paper quoted her as saying.
The woman, whose name was not revealed, presently stays in a rented house located within the compound of a Hindu temple in Soldier Bazaar. She started working as a teacher after her divorce and lodged a suit in court three years back to win back her dowry and alimony. "It is a lengthy process that needs lots of money and every time I return from court there [is no hope] as there are no certain family laws for Hindus," she said.
Advocate Sunil Kumar Talreja explained that in the Pakistani judiciary they refer to the Hindu Law introduced by the British government in 1946 but even this is not officially included in the judicial system.
Widows suffer especially when they need to fight to acquire their due share of the property of their husbands. "There are thousands of suits about family matters which are still pending in the local courts due to the absence of family laws," said advocate Sunil Kumar.
In the absence of such laws, most of the Hindus resort to the Panchayat system in which they contact an elder from the community to help sort out matters. "There must be separate laws for Hindus so that people have a way to get justice," said Professor K.S. Nagpal, an expert and author on religious matters.