ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday directed senior lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan to assist it in deciding the case of a teenage girl, Tatheer Fatima, seeking emancipation from her father.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, who headed the bench, adjourned the hearing of the case for ten days.
The bench was informed that the girl’s father owns a shop and earns a paltry amount of Rs20,000 to Rs25,000 per month.
The girl had filed a petition, requesting the apex court to remove her father’s name from her birth certificate and all of her educational degrees and other documents.
Tatheer wanted her last name removed and changed to ‘Tatheer Fatima bint-e-Pakistan’ instead.
“The name of the man, who does not deserve to be called a father, who does not provide for me, who I have not even met since childhood, should not be associated with mine,” the girl had said in her petition.
At a previous hearing, the chief justice directed the father to pay the financial expenses he owed to her. “You will have to remedy this,” the top judge told her father, “The expenses for all the years that have passed will be recovered from you,” he added.
During the proceedings, the top court also told the girl that there was no law permitting the axing of a father’s name from a child’s.
The petitioner’s mother who was also present asked the court, “Parents are allowed to and can disown their children, so why cannot the children disown their parents?”
After the court’s directions, the girl’s father told CJP Nisar that he was a poor man. In response, the chief justice asked the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe his financial records to determine whether this was true. The FIA DG was directed by the court to closely examine the case.
“If you are poor, you will face the civil case and go to jail,” CJP Nisar responded.
The girl said that the children should be given the right to decide on retaining the name of the person who actually raised them.
She reiterated her request to the court to allow her to remove her father’s name from all government documents.