The status of Women in FATA- A Comparison between Islamic Principles and Pashtunwali

Abdul Qadeer


Islamic principles and Pashtunwali are the two main factors dominating the social behavior in Pashtun society. Regarding the status of women they are similar in some aspects of life while in several others, they are different from each other. They are similar in the practices of polygamy; banquet during marriage; veil (purda) of women; rules for entering the houses of others and up to some extent in the method of divorce. They are different in the practices of women’s share in property and inheritance; the seeking of consent of women during marriage; the punishment of adultery and honour killing; the practice of mahr and bride-price. In Pashtun society women are denied the share in property and inheritance; consent in marriage is also not sought; they are killed in cases of adultery or on the basis of mere suspicion and friendly relations with men. The family of the woman takes bride-price on her marriage. The practices of forced marriages also take place like swara, takkan kawal, badal woda etc but these practices are rare. Although divorce takes place according to Islamic principles but women have a little say in seeking divorce. The culture has been adopted in such a way that it fulfills the economic, social and political interests of men at the cost of women’s interests.


Status of Women, Women in FATA, Islamic Principles, Pashtunwali, Pashtun society, practices of polygamy, property and inheritance, adultery and honour killing

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