Model Nadia Hussain took to social media to highlight a very important issue recently — women’s legal right to divorce in Pakistan. She stressed that all women should be aware of this right at the time of marriage and afterwards.
She posted photos of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 and Clause 18 of the nikahnama in an Instagram post, both of which give women the legal right to divorce her husband. “All women should know about Clause 18 of the nikahnama and do not get it crossed out without your permission or knowledge!” she urged.
Hussain alluded to a common societal misconception that women should not have the right to divorce because their ’emotions’ might get the better of them, leading them to end their marriages without cause. “No sane woman will willingly destroy her own marriage and house if she’s happy and loved. But yes, a woman needs to have the power to exit a toxic marriage,” she stressed.
The model also posted a video of her own nikahnama to advocate the point. “I want to tell you all an important thing about the nikahnama,” she said in the video, calling attention to Cause 18 in the document. “A lot of men and women refuse to acknowledge that a wife has the legal right to divorce. It is not my intention to misguide people but I do want to tell you about your rights.”
According to the National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS), 24.5% of married women between the ages of 15 and 45 experience sexual violence by their partners at least once in their lifetime in Pakistan. The right of divorce ensures that women have an escape from any abuse they experience in the course of their marriage.