Home > Uncategorized > HAPLESS GIRL’S FATHER SEEKS MESSIAH: Abusive ex-husband refuses to pay haq mehr

HAPLESS GIRL’S FATHER SEEKS MESSIAH: Abusive ex-husband refuses to pay haq mehr


HAPLESS GIRL’S FATHER SEEKS MESSIAH

Abusive ex-husband refuses to pay haq mehr

By Urooj Zia (Pakistan Today, 21 December 2010)

KARACHI: Eighteen-year-old Saima’s* ex-husband is not only refusing to pay her haq mehr of Rs 100,000, he is also denying the fact that he divorced her, putting her and her parents in a fix. During her year-long marriage, the teenager was also abused, physically and mentally, by her in-laws, her father, Hikmet*, told Pakistan Today.

The girl was married off to her paternal cousin in December 2009. “I kept refusing the rishta for five years, because I did not like the boy,” Hikmet said. “Then I got dengue and the fever was so high, I was delirious most of the time. During this period, my mother, my brother and my sister (to whose son my daughter was later married), somehow got me to agree to the match. They even got me to sign the nikaahnama while I was ill.”

The alleged abuse started soon after the marriage was formalised, when Saima’s in-laws flouted customs and did not let her visit her parents the morning after the wedding. The same night, they allegedly tried to make her sign some papers. “Saima told them that she’ll sign the papers in the morning. The next day when she went through it, she realised that they were trying to get her to waive off the haq mehr, which was settled at Rs 100,000. She refused, and was beaten up,” Hikmet said.

Some time later, the teenager accidentally burned her brother-in-law’s clothes while ironing them. “In turn, her in-laws burned her hands with the iron. Another time, her husband found a piece of hair in the food that she had cooked, and cut off her plait. But she never told us about any of this,” her father claims. “She always said she was very happy. Once, she forgot to switch off the gas in the kitchen, and her in-laws tried to lock her in the same kitchen, with the gas on, as punishment. She could have died!”

Matters came to a head around Eidul Fitr this year, when Saima’s in-laws refused to let her visit her parents. The latter, however, ignored these signs. “On the second day of Eidul Azha, while my wife and I were away, and only one of my younger daughters was home, Saima’s husband dropped her off at our house,” Hikmet said. “She was in a terrible condition. My son-in-law also used foul language against Saima and my other daughter before leaving. When I came home, my younger daughter complained to me. I tried to calm them down and told them that even I use bad language with their mother at times, and it is not a big deal. My younger daughter asked me what grounds her brother-in-law had to abuse her. I reminded her that they had grown up together and used to fight and use all kinds of foul words against each other when they were kids. What has changed now? Why should she take it so seriously?”

While Hikmet might have succeeded in getting his daughters to stop complaining, his son-in-law came back the next day, again when Hikmet and his wife weren’t home. “He abused Saima again, and pronounced divorce four times. We got a fatwah from Fiqh Hanafiyah, according to which, Saima is legally divorced now, but these people are refusing to leave us alone,” the girl’s father said. “Not only are her in-laws refusing to pay haq mehr, they are also claiming that Saima is not divorced, and are demanding that we send her back to them. When we refuse, they send rowdy young men on bikes to our house to abuse us and our children. I don’t have any grown-up sons. Who will protect my family?”

The legal protectors, meanwhile, also seem to have abandoned Hikmet and Saima. “I tried to lodge an FIR at the local police station, but they refused, saying that it was a personal matter,” Hikmet told Pakistan Today. “They detained me instead, and forced me to sign a ‘sulahnama’, according to which, the boys would stay away from our house. I agreed, because I’m a poor man and don’t have the option of pressuring them or going to court. But the sulahnama has not stopped the constant pressure from my daughter’s in-laws and the hooligans they send to our house.”

As matters stand, Saima, according to her family, has stopped talking to people; her ex-husband is incommunicado; and her younger siblings are traumatised by the almost-constant harassment right outside their door. “I don’t know what to do anymore, or how to stop these people,” Hikmet said. “I only pray for a messiah who can come and help us out of this mess.”

*Names changed to protect identities.

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