Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

The issue of divorce is a challenge for the Christian community because divorce in Christianity is considered as a desecration of the marriage relationship. Some people in the Christian community are now converting for divorce.

Unhappy with married life, many Christian women are forced to change their religion
Unhappy with married life, many Christian women are forced to change their religion


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Saba (pseudonym), a resident of Rawalpindi and a member of the Christian community, shared a picture of herself with her friend, in which her face was covered in indigo and her eyes were swollen shut. Saba told her friend that there are many such marks on both her body and soul.

Saba has been married for 16 years but she is unhappy with her married life. Saba’s husband is a motor mechanic while the family with five children is struggling to survive. Saba told DW, “I don’t know about bread, but I get to eat it every day. My husband only wants money, no matter how much I give, I want a divorce but can’t get it. Because we are Christians and divorce is not possible in our religion.

Divorce matters of the Christian community in Pakistan are governed by the Christian Divorce Act 1869. Christian divorce law in its current form allows a couple to separate only if one of them can prove that the other has committed adultery (i.e. illicit sex).

The existing laws of Pakistan have inadequate provisions for this matter. So many Christian couples are unable to find a way out of unhappy marriages and live in hardship.

In this regard, DW Urdu contacted the former MNA and Chairperson of Pakistan Christian Forum Asia Nasir and she said, “Separation is more difficult for Christian couples than for Muslim couples because annulment of marriage is not possible according to the Bible.” “

According to Asiya Nasir, the Bible does not allow divorce but allows separation, according to Section 10 of the Christian Divorce Act, a petition for dissolution of marriage can only be filed on charges of adultery. This law makes it difficult to dissolve a marriage as adultery has to be proved.” He said it is not an easy task and in many cases it takes months to obtain a decree in court proceedings.

In 2019, a draft bill titled the Christian Marriage and Divorce Act 2019 was prepared, which proposed changes to the Divorce Act 1869 and the Christian Marriage Act 1872 to provide the Christian community with other means of obtaining divorce in the law. Grounds or reasons may be provided. However, no change has been seen in this framework so far and this bill has also not been approved by the Parliament.

Asia says, “As a private member, we went before the ministry with a bill to amend the laws, but it could not be properly discussed in the committee. The bill kept circulating in the ministry and the committee.” The bill was carried in the minority, but now that committee has been merged into religious affairs. Having a minority committee is also important so that the issues of minorities can also be given importance.

Domestic Violence Kashkar Saba told DW Urdu, “Two women I know have separated, which is possible in our religion, but not divorce. Annulment of marriage is also possible by changing religion. I also want to change my religion.” What is the intention because now I am fed up with this relationship.”

Human rights activist and advocate Mary Gill told DW Urdu, ‘Christian Marriage Law is not the local law here, these laws were brought by the British and unfortunately the law of the British era is still in force in Pakistan. . These laws are very weak in today’s terms. These laws could not be amended. One of the reasons for this is that the Christian community considers these laws as God’s laws and the Church is not ready for amendments in these laws.

He said, “In Christian divorce, the husband has to show the wife’s misconduct in the court and most of the friends are included in the petition. Another procedure that is very common nowadays is that the husband converts to religion. And thus the annulment of the marriage is done and for that also a divorce is obtained from the court itself.”

Mary Gill says that many people convert due to divorce and it is very difficult to get the actual data and this is because most of the conversions are done secretly and without telling anyone. Most of the people convert to Islam.”

Mary Gill says, “We have been blamed and even threatened with death from my own community for amending this law and working for our women, but this is our mission and we have succeeded.” Now people have started talking about it, which people were afraid to talk about before.

The Christian community is considered the largest minority in Pakistan. According to 2005 estimates, there were about 2.5 million Christians in Pakistan or 1.6 percent of the country’s population. The majority of the Christian minority lives in the province of Punjab.

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