ISLAMABAD  -  The Supreme Court on Thursday sought legal assistance from Makhdoom Ali Khan to decide a unique matter wherein a daughter is seeking removal of her father’s name from official documents.

Senior lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan has also been asked to provide legal assistance on a point as to whether a child can disassociate his father from official records.

In order to cover the religious aspect of the matter, the top court also ruled that it would like to see comments of Judge Shariat Court Fida Hassan in the matter. The court also issued notice to Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP).

As far as monetary compensation, the top court directed Director General Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to inquire into financial status of the father as well as procure the documents from father, which are required for completing the remaining documents of daughter.

The appeal filed by 22-year-old Tatheer Fatima has asked the top court for issuing directives to replace her father name with the words ‘Bint-e-Pakistan’ (the daughter of Pakistan) in all her documents.

Fatima claimed that she was abandoned by her father in childhood and she had never seen him. Whether or not an individual who abandons his child either before or after birth can be called the father of that child, Fatima raised the question in her appeal.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan took up the appeal for hearing.

The bench also turned down the plea of mother Fehmida to hear Shahid Orakzai on religious aspect of the case and observed that the court would look into this aspect by appointing a religious scholar.

The mother further requested not to make father as a party in the case as her daughter Fatima had not approached the court for monetary compensation.

But the bench observed that there was no legal provision or statute of dissociation.

However, the Chief Justice observed that the psychological aversion in the mind of girl could not be removed but it could somehow be compensated monetarily.  Pursuant to the top court’s order after first hearing, girl’s father Mian Shahid Ayub, NADRA’s official and DG FIA Bashir Memon appeared before the bench.

The Chief Justice asked Fatima’s father as to when the latter had last seen his daughter and why he had not been contacting her for many years.

Fatima’s father submitted that he had last met his daughter in 2002. To this, the Chief Justice snubbed the father and told him that he should be ashamed for not meeting her daughter for almost 16 years.

The man (father) pleaded that he had tried to meet his daughter. However, the CJ asked him as what efforts he had made to meet his daughter.

When the CJ asked him what sort of a father he was for leaving his daughter, the father responded that he had not left his daughter rather it was the mother who never allowed him to meet his daughter.

On financial compensation, the father submitted that he was not a well-to-do person. “If you are poor, you will face the civil case and go to jail,” the CJP asserted.

Regarding the change in Fatima’s last name, the CJ observed that the complainant wanted her father’s name to be replaced with Bint-e-Pakistan but Islamic Law had not allowed for a father’s name to be removed from a daughter’s name.

During the course of hearing, the girl Fatima cried on the rostrum and said that she required some documents from her father when she was a Grade 10 student.

“But he told me that he would only hand them over if I submit a written statement claiming my mother of a bad character,” Fatima informed the bench.

“Why should children suffer due to conflict between parents,” she further said, adding that it should be the right of children to adopt the name of those who had raised them as her mother had faced difficulties to raise her as a single parent. She again requested the bench to allow her father’s name to be removed from all her documents.

Fehmida Butt, the worker of ex-chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party, said that providing money was not the only responsibility of the parent. She added that removing her father’s name from her documentation would give Fatima satisfaction.

The top court with above-mentioned directions adjourned the hearing of the case for 10-days.

Fatima’s appeal to the top court is against the Islamabad High Court (IHC) judgment. The appeal contended that the high court had failed to appreciate that she was not seeking any treatment in accordance with the law.

She had also questioned NADRA’s earlier attempt of seeking a ‘fatwa’ from a religious authority of Saudi Arabia and Iran to formulate a policy about the registration of orphans in Pakistan. She had stated that she did not feel like an orphan in the presence of her mother.

 

SYED SABEEHUL HUSSNAIN