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November 18, 2015

Disqualification hangs over Imran on Nikah controversy

National

November 18, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Reham Khan’s fresh disclosure may lead to disqualification of PTI chief Imran Khan if he is convicted of not registering his marriage deliberately — a serious offence under the Pakistani law.
Imran landed in mess when his ex-wife Reham Khan told Sunday Times that her marriage was not registered anywhere in Britain or Pakistan. “After a 10-month marriage, you’re not entitled to anything,” Reham was quoted as saying by the paper.
According to Muslim Family Laws Ordinance (MFLO) 1961 failure to register a marriage is a crime which carries three-month jail and up to Rs1,000 fine for the bridegroom as well as the Nikah Khawan. A convicted person can’t hold a public office under the Constitution.
The News has learnt that the Nikah was not registered at Bani Gala, Islamabad where the marriage took place.Under Section 5(2) of the MFLO, the Nikah Khawan is bound to register marriage in the respective union council.
In case of Bani Gala, Nikah is supposed to be registered with the Assistant Commissioner (AC) Secretariat. However, AC Secretariat Captain (R) Waqas Rashid confirmed to The News that the Nikah was not registered with his office.
“It is indeed not registered with my office,” he said, adding that the Nikah Khawan should be asked where he got the marriage registered.
Asked about the union council where he was registered as Nikah Khawan, Mufti Saeed, who solemnized the marriage, told The News that he could not disclose it, as “it is a personal question”.
He also refused to talk about the legal implication of not registering the marriage.“I have an agreement with Imran Khan and other friends who are privy to the marriage that I can’t disclose the details of marriage,” he said. However, he did not contradict Reham Khan’s statement.
Asked why the Nikah was not registered and whether it was not a cognizable offence, Mufti Saeed said the issue was a personal matter of IK and ‘we should not discuss the

personal life of any person, as it is a great sin’.
He hung up on this correspondent when asked if he had the Nikah Nama (wedding document) as proof of registration of wedding.“Even if you call me a thousand times, I won’t answer your question unless I am a fool or a sinful person,” he said when The News contacted him again.
Under Section 5 (1) of MFLO 1961, every marriage solemnised under the Muslim Law shall be registered in accordance with the provisions of law and under Sub-section 4 of the ordinance whoever contravenes the provisions of registration “be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.”
According to experts of family law both groom and Nikah Khawan could face punishment under the law.Seasoned family lawyer of Islamabad Fehmida Naaz Advocate told The News that non-registration of marriage was a serious offence as it set a bad social precedent.
“A person may refrain from registering his marriage to avoid financial consequences of a potential divorce,” she said, adding that the groom can direct Nikah Khawan to delay registration but in most cases the Nikah Khawan is blamed for violation of law.
She said a case under Section 420 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) could be registered against a person who fraudulently avoids registration of marriage to gain financial benefits.“Normally Nikah Khawans are fined for non-registration or delayed registration of marriages in Pakistan. I have not seen any groom being punished for violation of Section 5(3) of the MFLO during my 12-year legal career,” she said.
She said non-registration of marriage could pose many legal challenges to a couple as the third party could challenge the legality of their marriage.Fehmida Naaz said a Nikah Khawan could even lose his license if the case of non-registration of marriage proves against him in a court of law.PTI’s Secretary Information Shireen Mizari did not respond to calls and text messages despite repeated attempts by The News.