This is the fifth in a series of video interviews conducted by sister publication Maatram, highlighting the difficulties faced by women under the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA).
Article 16 of the constitution states that existing written and unwritten laws, such as the MMDA, will continue in force even over constitutional law. There is currently a campaign for the reform of personal laws, with some calling for the repeal of Article 16 altogether.
Read below for an edited transcript of the video interview, in English:
I got married shortly after my 21st birthday. I had two children. It was after the second child had grown a little older that we began having problems. My husband would scold me and hit me. I endured it for the sake of my children. After some time, I had a third child, a daughter. We separated shortly after. He was always hitting me, he would even take things that were close to hand and hit me with them. Finally, after my older two children went to school, I took my daughter and left. After one week of returning to my family home, my husband came and forcefully took my daughter away from me. He said he would not give me custody of my three children. He didn’t even let me see or talk to them. I even tried to contact them on the telephone, but he would always disconnect the line. It has been 5 years now, and the children say they want their mother. I want to see my children. I want my children back.
It is only with Allah’s grace that I am living. I have not received any compensation, apart from compensation for talaq from the Quazi Court. At the Quazi Court hearings, the judge ordered my husband to bring the children and show them to me. He didn’t listen. He doesn’t respect anything the judge says. I left my husband because I couldn’t stand the abuse. Now, they are acting as if I am the wrongdoer. Allah knows what harm he has done to me.