[...] the supreme law of the land seems to embody a blatant contradiction. The Pakistani Constitution extends protection to an impressive catalog of fundamental rights, placing Pakistan in line with some of the most western-minded constitutional regimes in the world.3 At the same time, in contrast to the American-style constitutional commitment to separate church and state,4 the Pakistani regime is constitutionally committed to integrate the two, in the sense that all laws must conform to the injunctions of Islam as a condition of their constitutional validity.5 So the same Constitution that protects western fundamental rights also elevates Islamic law, a legal tradition usually associated with the loss of rights.6 This raises the question of how a legal system is expected to adequately function when its defining document seems inherently flawed, and how its judges are meant to carry out its conflicting mandates faithfully, especially when dealing with the delicate regulation of marriage.

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