A man in Gujranwala on Friday escaped prosecution for trying to contract a second marriage without his first wife’s approval after his wife as well as the woman he had wanted to marry agreed to forgive him.
Maulvi Shaukat and nikahkhwan Maulvi Aslam were released by Girjakh police after a three-and-a-half hour detention after the two women – his wife Uzma Shahzadi and Saira Bibi, the woman he had wanted to marry – withdrew their applications against them.
Shaukat, a shopkeeper who also delivers sermons on religious ceremonies, pleaded with the two women for forgiveness in presence of SHO Naeem Butt and families of the women. The gathering was arranged by the police after they had arrested Shaukat and the nikahkhwan in the afternoon from the ceremony arranged for the second marriage.
Shaukat assured Shahzadi that he would never think about a second marriage again.
Talking to The Express Tribune at the police lock-up before the settlement, Shaukat had denied that he had intended to marry Saira Bibi on Friday. He said he had taken the nikahkhwan to her place only to find out about the procedure for solemnising a second marriage.
Shahzadi told The Tribune that she had withdrawn her application for action against her husband.
She said she saw no point in jeopardising her marriage and their four children’s future now that she had succeeded in preventing Shaukat’s second marriage. She said her family had also advised her against taking any action against her husband.
“I don’t expect my family to sustain me and my four children if I seek a divorce from Shaukat,” she said.
Saira Bibi, who also withdrew her application against Shaukat, stated that she had been tricked. She said Shaukat had told her that he was a bachelor.
Saira, a resident of Rahmanpura, said she had known Shaukat for several months but he had only until recently proposed her. She said she accepted the proposal after discussing it with her mother and some relatives. She said her father had died several years ago. “My mother agreed to the proposal thinking that she would never be able to marry me if she let this opportunity go,” she said.
She said her mother lacked enough means to find her ‘a decent match’.
Shaukat and a nikahkhwan, Maulvi Aslam, were earlier arrested from the ceremony arranged for his marriage with Saira Bibi. The raid was carried out on Uzma Shahzadi’s complaint. She told the police that Shaukat had left home on Friday morning saying that he was going to Faisalabad to attend a ceremony where he was to deliver a lecture. She said a neighbour later told her about the second marriage.
Nikahkhwan Aslam was also released without prosecution. He told the police he was innocent in the matter as Shaukat had not told him about his first marriage.
Muslim Family Law Ordinance of 1961
Any man who contracts another marriage without the permission of the Arbitration Council shall:
(a) pay immediately the entire amount of the dower whether prompt or deferred, due to the existing wife or wives, which amount, if not so paid, shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue; and
(b) on conviction upon complaint be punishable with the simple imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2012.