Islamabad: A minister from the ruling Pakistan People’s Party stunned Parliament when he said most lawmakers have more than one wife.
Minister of State for Ports and Shipping Nabil Gabol told the National Assembly or lower house of parliament yesterday that 80 percent of its members had more than one wife.
"It should be left for the ulema (clerics) to issue a decree whether anyone can have more than one wife or not," he said.
Gabol was responding to a statement by former information minister Sherry Rahman, who said a man is not allowed to remarry without permission from his first wife.
Surprisingly, none of the members in the House confirmed or denied Gabol’s assertion.
Maulana Abdul Malik, a lawmaker from the tribal areas, supported Gabol’s stance on polygamy by reciting a verse from the Quran: "Faithful are allowed to wed twice, thrice or four times provided they can maintain justice between wives".
Rehman, also a senior leader of the PPP, referred to a recent statement by Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) legislator Samina Khawer Hayat in the Punjab Assembly that a Muslim man can have more than one wife without getting permission from his first wife.
Rehman expressed her concern over the silence of the Punjab and federal governments on this issue.
She said the Jamiah Al Azhar of Egypt had issued a fatwa or decree that no one is allowed to indulge in polygamy under the prevailing circumstances.