Ayesha Khalil v. Shehzada Saqib Suhail (District Court, Lahore)

A district court in Lahore, Pakistan, ruled against a man who had remarried without obtaining his wife’s permission. Judicial magistrate Ali Jawad Naqwi ruled that the accused, Shehzada Saqib Suhail, had illegally pursued a third marriage without first obtaining the consent of the complainant, Ayesha Khalil, who at the time was his second wife. The magistrate ruled that the accused had “solemnized third marriage during the existence of marriage with the complainant and therefore accused namely Shahzada Saqib Suhail is convicted u/s 6(5) of Muslim Family Ordinance.” In its opinion the court cited section 6 of Muslim Family Ordinance 1961 which stipulates the manner and practice of polygamy in Pakistan. 6(5) of the Ordinance disallows any man from contracting an additional marriage without the permission and consent of the Arbitration Council. Under the ordinance, an application for permission must be submitted to the Chairman of the Arbitration Council along with the necessary fees, reasons for marriage, and importantly, proof of consent of existing wife or wives. The court found that no such permission had been obtained from the second wife the complainant, Ayesha Khalil, nor from the Arbitration Council when the third marriage was established, and sentenced accused with six months of simple imprisonment and fine of Rs.2,00,000/.

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