THIS is apropos the letter ‘The agony of being a father for two hours’ (Dec 28). Child custody laws in Pakistan are in accordance with Sharia law. Owing to a common lack of knowledge and understanding, the same are misused to mothers’ advantage.
According to Sharia law, mothers can take custody of a boy under the age of seven years and girl till the age of puberty, which is 13 years. Thereafter, father has the right to take the custody of children. If custody is not transferred, he can approach the court.
The wisdom behind the law is to let a child reach an age of independence, i.e., he should be able to eat, change and take a bath without help, etc. As a girl reaches puberty, she needs her mother’s guidance; thus, the age of girl’s custody by father is 13 years.
In case the woman remarries, the children go back to the father. And if the atmosphere at mother’s place is not conducive for children’s wellbeing, father can claim custody.
As far as the meeting between children and father is concerned, it is done with mutual understanding and convenience. If woman leaves town taking children along, the court should be approached to let the father keep the child for a month or so.
In this modern electronic age, fathers should ensure regular contact with their children through messaging applications, and should keep informing them of their spending on them, lest women lie.
Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2021