For the first time, the Lahore High Court ruled against a man who got married for the second time without his first wife’s consent. This ruling has created history in Pakistan and has been applauded by women’s rights activists.

The man charged guilty has been ordered to serve a six-month jail term and has been imposed with a fine of Rs. 200,000.

The case is now being called historical as this has been the first time a court in Pakistan has sided with the woman under a 2015 family law. Ayesha Bibi won the case against her husband, Shahzad Saqib who got married again without asking for her approval.

The defendant, Ayesha Bibi had pleaded with the court stating, 

“To get married without your first wife’s permission is breaking the law!”

Ayesha’s husband spoke about religion allowing him to marry four times and he did not need permission from his wife to do so. However, the court did not take his side and rejected his argument.

Romana Bashir, a Women’s Rights Activist and NGO Head spoke on the ruling, 

“It is encouraging that a wronged woman has used this law to complain to the court. The decision augurs well for women’s empowerment”

According to the Institute for Policy Studies, a research organization, polygamy was more popular in rural areas as compared to urban cities. Its common in families without a male heir and when the men have extramarital affairs.

The Chair of Punjab Commission on the Status of Women, Fauzia Viqar was happy about the ruling and termed it as a step towards ending polygamy in the country.

“The decision sets an important precedent. It will discourage polygamy and encourage women to take up their case with the courts. It will create awareness among people, in general, and women, in particular. Wronged women using this law will lead to their empowerment.”

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