Divorce Law Family Laws Pakistan Laws

Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 Amendment 2015

Are you familiar with the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 (MFLO) and its 2015 amendment? If not, this blog post is for you. We’ll discuss what the MFLO is, how it affects Muslims living in Pakistan, and why the 2015 amendment was necessary. Plus, we’ll provide an overview of the new rules and regulations that are now in place. It’s time to brush up on your knowledge about this important law!


The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 is a law enacted to give effect to certain recommendations of the Commission on Marriage and Family Laws. This law applies to all Muslims living in Pakistan and covers matters related to marriage, divorce, custody, guardianship and inheritance. The 2015 amendment to this ordinance introduced several new provisions designed to improve the rights of women and children in marriage and family disputes. These include the registration of all Muslim marriages, allowing women to have custodial rights, introducing a minimum age for marriage and making it easier for divorced women to receive alimony payments. This ordinance provides an important framework for protecting the rights of Pakistani Muslims while also helping promote gender equality in the country.

Definition of Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961

The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 is a federal legislation in Pakistan that governs the family matters of followers of all fiqh (schools of thought) in the country. It covers topics such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody. The ordinance was amended in 2015 with the Punjab Muslim Family Laws (Amendment) Bill 2015 to provide additional family law provisions. In particular, it substitutes section 5 to provide that Family Courts shall act as Nikah Registrars and shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all family matters. Furthermore, it clarifies the rules of inheritance under Islamic law by providing that legal heirs of a predeceased son or daughter are entitled to their share from the deceased’s estate.

Amendment of 2015 in the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961

The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance of 1961 is an important piece of legislation that governs family matters and lalaq for followers of all fiqh in Pakistan. In 2015, the Punjab provincial government passed the Punjab Muslim Family Laws (Amendment) Bill 2015 and the Punjab Family Courts (Amendment) Bill 2015 to further amend this ordinance.

The amendments seek to substitute Section 5 of the Ordinance by providing that Family Courts shall act as Nikah Registrars. These bills are intended to give effect to certain recommendations of the Commission on Marriage and Family Laws.

Some other key changes proposed in these bills include allowing a female witness for Nikah, allowing a guardian or wali for minor girls to enter into marriages, granting reliefs in cases involving unilateral talaq-e-biddat (instant triple talaq), introducing financial protection measures for divorced women, setting up family courts in each district across Pakistan and increasing punishments for those involved in forced marriages or marrying minors.

These amendments are aimed at protecting the rights of women and children within families as well as ensuring speedy justice delivery systems through family courts across Pakistan.

Changes in Marriage and Divorce Rules

The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 has undergone several changes over the years to keep up with the changing times. The most recent amendment made to the Ordinance is in 2015, which brings about major changes in marriage and divorce rules. This amendment seeks to provide more protection for married women by introducing restrictions on polygamy, granting maintenance rights to divorced women and introducing a cooling off period before a divorce can be finalized. The amendment also mandates registration of marriages and provides that any person who fails to register their marriage will face imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both. Additionally, it states that no man may terminate his marriage through ‘talaq’ without prior approval from a family court. This approval must be obtained through an application for dissolution of marriage and only after counselling sessions have been held between the couple and all attempts at reconciliation have failed. Lastly, it provides that any terminated marriage can be remarried by the same husband without additional conditions if desired by either party. All these changes seek to ensure greater protection for married couples and help them resolve disputes in an amicable manner.

Changes to Maintenance and Guardianship Rights

The Punjab Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 was recently amended in 2015 to make changes to maintenance and guardianship rights for Muslims in Pakistan. The Act stipulates that the courts should be guided by the personal law of the minor when dealing with matters such as child maintenance and adoption. An amendment was made to the Family Courts Act 1964 and some rules relating to Muslim family law were also changed.

The most significant change is in section 9 of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961, which grants the Chairman of an Arbitration Council authority to grant maintenance payments for a divorced woman or her children under certain circumstances. In addition, Article 227 of the Constitution has been amended to protect inheritance rights for Ahle-e-Tashih and other matters connected with Islamic law.

These amendments have been made in response to demands from activists who have long argued that women’s rights are not adequately protected under Pakistani law. They seek more equitable treatment of women when it comes to issues such as divorce, child custody, and inheritance rights. While these amendments are a step forward towards protecting women’s rights in Pakistan, there is still a long way to go before true gender equity is achieved in this area of law

New Provisions for Care, Custody and Control of Children

The Punjab Muslim Family Laws Amendment Bill 2015 seeks to further amend the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 in order to provide better care, custody and control of children. The new provisions are meant to ensure that traditional norms of the father assuming custody rights from age seven are replaced by decisions made in the best interest of the child. The bill also provides an alternate system of arbitration and dispute resolution through Mujtahid-e-Alam, a religious scholar appointed by the court. This decision would have a status equivalent to an award and would be enforced according to the Arbitration Act. Furthermore, where there are two or more children, the court is not obligated to place both or all in the custody of one person; instead it will consider each child’s welfare separately when making its ruling. These new amendments aim to protect and secure children’s rights during divorce proceedings.

Consequences of Bigamy on Women’s Rights

Bigamy is a criminal offence under the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 (VIII of 1961) and is punishable by imprisonment for up to two years. Bigamy has serious consequences on women’s rights, as it can lead to the termination of their marriage without due process. It can leave them without any financial security or protection, making them vulnerable to physical and psychological abuse. Divorced women may also face discrimination in terms of employment opportunities and social stigma. The amendments proposed in the Punjab Muslim Family Laws (Amendment) Bill 2015 seek to further protect the rights of women by limiting a man’s ability to contract a second marriage without first obtaining permission from a family court as well as providing for maintenance payments for divorced women. This would help ensure that a woman’s rights are safeguarded in case of bigamy and she does not suffer financially or emotionally due to her husband’s polygamous practices.

Changes to Inheritance Rules for Wives and Daughters

The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance of 1961 (MFLO) has been amended in 2015 to ensure that wives and daughters are granted their rights when it comes to inheritance. Under the new rules, a daughter will get half of the property if there is no son and if there is more than one daughter they will share two-thirds of the property. The Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939 still governs divorce in Pakistan, however it has been amended by the MFLO to allow for inheritance rights for women. According to a survey conducted by the BMMA, 83% of respondents agreed that women should have equal inheritance rights as men. This amendment seeks to address this demand from society and provides legal protection for wives and daughters when it comes to inheriting assets from their deceased family members.

Gender Discrimination in Laws Related to Property Ownership

Gender discrimination in laws related to property ownership has been a major issue for Muslim women in Pakistan. The 1961 Muslim Family Laws Ordinance (MFLO) put restrictions on women’s rights to own and inherit property, with only male heirs being able to claim inheritance. This led to many women being denied their right of ownership over land and other properties, resulting in unfair distribution of wealth among the heirs.

In 2015, the Punjab Muslim Family Laws Amendment Bill was passed which allowed women to inherit agriculture land as well as other properties. The amendment also granted them the right to file for dissolution of marriage if they so desired. Through this amendment, women finally achieved some equality when it comes to property rights.

The constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan also contains certain provisions related to gender equality such as Article 25 which allows all citizens regardless of gender or religion the right to practice their faith freely and without prejudice according to its fundamentals provided it does not conflict with public order or morality. The passing of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill has also made talaq-i-bid`ah legally inadmissible and this is a major breakthrough for Muslim women who were previously subject to discriminatory practices such as triple talaq divorce that was outlawed by this bill.

The MFLO also contains extracts relating to marriage, child marriage, polygamy, divorce and inheritance that grant equal rights between men and women but due implementation issues these are not always followed through properly leading to further inequality among genders when it comes to marital rights.

Overall although there have been some positive steps taken towards eliminating gender discrimination in laws related to property ownership there is still a lot more that needs

Child Custody Rights Under the Amendment

Child custody rights are a major concern for many Muslim families in Pakistan. Since the introduction of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance Amendment 2015, these rights have been further clarified and strengthened. The Punjab Muslim Family Laws (Amendment) Bill 2015 seeks to further amend the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 (VIII of 1961) to ensure that custody rights are upheld. According to this amendment, a Family Court cannot question the validity of any marriage registered in accordance with the provisions of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance. The amendment also provides for arbitration councils which can be set up upon receipt of notice from either party in order to settle disputes related to child custody rights. These arbitration councils can hear matters such as Hizanat (right of a mother to get her children back), restitution of conjugal rights, guardianship and jactitation (annulment) of marriage. Custody laws also state that parents must agree on who is best suited for guardianship before an official court ruling is made. This amendment helps protect and uphold the rights of both parents when it comes to raising their children and ensures that family matters are settled amicably without going through lengthy court proceedings.

Protection from Forced Marriages or Nikah Halala

Forced marriages or Nikah Halala are illegal and considered a form of abuse. It is an Islamic practice that involves a divorced woman remarrying her former husband in order to be able to consummate the marriage again. In Pakistan, the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 (MFLO ’61) was enacted to give effect to certain recommendations of the Commission on Marriage and Divorce, so as to safeguard the rights of women in regards to marriage, divorce, and polygamy. The ordinance prohibits forced marriages or Nikah Halala by stipulating that nothing shall debar a wife whose marriage has been terminated by talaq from remarrying the same husband without an intervening marriage with another person. It also provides for registration of marriages under this Ordinance and for licensing persons who will register these marriages. In addition, it requires that all forms of divorce must be certified by a Marriage Registrar before becoming legally effective. All these provisions are aimed at preventing forced marriages or Nikah Halala and protecting women’s rights in relation to marriage.

Impact on Women’s Status in Society

The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 Amendment 2015 has had a significant impact on the status of women in society. The amendment seeks to provide greater protection for the rights of women, including those related to marriage, divorce, custody and maintenance. Through this amendment, women are now able to initiate a divorce process without the consent of their husband in certain circumstances. Additionally, the minimum age for marriage is set at 18 years old, and married women may now seek maintenance from their husbands during the period of iddat (the waiting period following divorce). This amendment also provides legal protection for divorced mothers in terms of custody and maintenance rights.

Overall, these changes have addressed many gender disparities within Pakistani society by granting more autonomy and protection to women. With these changes in place, it is hoped that Pakistani society can continue to progress towards greater gender equality and respect for all genders’ rights.

Social Implications of the Amendment

The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance Amendment 2015 has had significant social implications in Pakistan. The amendment devolved the power to legislate family matters to the provinces, allowing each province to pass laws that are better suited for its own society. In addition, it seeks to substitute section 5 of the Muslim Family Law Ordinance 1961 by providing that Family Courts shall act as Nikah Registrars. Furthermore, it has amended the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939 so as to make it easier for wives to obtain a divorce if their husbands fail to perform their marital obligations such as providing maintenance or performing their marital duties. Lastly, the amendment also includes a provision in the Punjab Family Courts Act which makes marriage under Islamic law more like a contractual agreement rather than an unbreakable bond.

Overall, this amendment is intended to ensure that family laws in Pakistan are better adapted and up-to-date with current societal needs. It also provides more legal protections for women by making it easier for them to obtain a divorce if they are not being adequately provided for or treated fairly by their husbands.

Legal Challenges Faced by Muslim Women Post Amendment

The Muslim Family Law Ordinance (MFLO) 1961 was amended in 2015 to give better protection for women’s rights, however, there are still legal challenges faced by Muslim women as a result of this amendment. The main challenge is that many of the laws remain gender-biased and do not provide adequate protection for women’s rights. For example, despite the amendment, Muslim women still lack access to divorce and polygamy remains legally recognised. Additionally, the MFLO 1961 does not adequately address issues related to inheritance or custody of children in case of divorce.

Furthermore, recent court cases show that even though there have been amendments made to existing family laws, they often fail to protect the interests of Muslim women. This is because courts often interpret these laws in a way that denies justice to Muslim women due to their interpretation being rooted in traditional values rather than modern ones. In some cases, judges have also chosen to ignore the provisions made by Islamic law when ruling on matters concerning family law.

These legal challenges faced by Muslim women post amendment highlight the need for further reform and progressive legislation from both cultural and religious perspectives in order to ensure equal protection for all citizens regardless of faith or gender. It is hoped that with increased awareness among members of society and greater efforts from legislators and courts alike, such legal challenges can be addressed more effectively in order to create a fairer system for all members of society.


The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 Amendment 2015 is an important piece of legislation that provides legal protection and guidance for Muslims in Pakistan. The amendment strengthens the existing law by providing for the registration of Muslim marriages at Family Courts, as well as making it easier to dissolve such marriages in accordance with the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939. This legislation ultimately serves to protect and empower the rights of Muslims in Pakistan and should be upheld to ensure their continued safety and security.



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