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Court Rules Pakistani Muslim Women Free To Choose Spouse

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  • Court Rules Pakistani Muslim Women Free To Choose Spouse

    Saturday, December 20, 2003. 12:15pm (AEDT)

    The highest court in Pakistan has ruled that Muslim women can marry anyone they want, of their own free will.

    Hundreds of women are murdered by relatives every year in Pakistan for offending the family's honour, one of the perceived offences being marriage without family consent.

    The long-running debate over whether a Muslim woman has the right to marry someone of her choice began six-years ago when the Lahore High Court reopened a case already settled by the country's Islamic Sharia Court.

    The Federal Sharia Court in 1991 had declared that a Muslim woman was within her rights to marry of her own free will, with or without the agreement of her father or guardian, known in Islamic law as Wali.

    However, the Lahore High Court in separate decisions in 1997 declared that unless a woman had the permission of the Wali her marriage would be invalid.

    The couples affected by this ruling challenged the decision in the Supreme Court.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1014026.htm
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