Maintenance under Muslim law is known as “nafkah”. It includes all amounts which a man spends on his family. Nafkah basically includes food, clothing and lodging. A Muslim husband is bound to maintain his wife and children under Muslim as well as Pakistani Laws. The quantum of the maintenance depends on the social and economic status of husband. It is his duty to maintain his family but if he denies or shows negligence in paying the maintenance to his wife and children then wife has two remedies against his husband. She has the right to file a family suit for the recovery of maintenance from his husband or she can file an application to the chairman of Union Council of her area to fix maintenance for herself and her children.
In Pakistan women suffer a lot. They are being oppressed and tortured by her husband and his family. They have not courage to go the court and take legal action against their husbands for their maintenance because they are being threatened of divorce if they will take any legal action.
The family law of Pakistan has given a relief to such women. Under Section 9 of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 a woman can apply to the Chairman of Union Council for the maintenance against that husband who fails to maintain his wife and children. The Chairman shall constitute an Arbitration Council to determine the matter. The Arbitration Council will issue a certificate specifying the amount which shall be paid as maintenance by the husband. Any amount which is payable by the husband, if not paid in due time, shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue.
It shows that a husband cannot escape himself from the maintenance of his wife and children. A woman even without going through any legal action against her husband can claim her maintenance.
Advocate Anum Younis
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