The animated short film Know Your Nikahnama by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy informs women in Pakistan about their legal rights as per their Nikahnama. It is a very well documented film which sheds light on various sections of nikkahnama, that can be used as a learning tool for women in our society. It focuses on the contract of marriage, the nikahnama, which a bride should read before signing it.

What is alarming and contemptible about Nikahnamas is that women sign them in the presence of the male members of their family and their in-laws. Despite their right to read it and even add their demands on the paper, it is still seen as morally inappropriate when a girl wishes or requests to read her nikahnama.

Women are not even told about their haq mehr or whether or not they are given the right of divorce before marriage which is an extremely condemnable act.

People especially feminists raise their voices in favor of women empowerment but often times even such women themselves don’t know about their basic rights that are protected by law.

Girls and women should be educated about their rights especially legal ones. Know your Nikkahnama is a good step in this regard but it should also be taken into consideration that the male members of our society should not detain the rights of women in the name of honor and women should have freedom in such regards. Only then will these rights work in the favor of women.

FARHEEN QURESHI,

Karachi, November 6.