JISPIL Vol 2 Issue 1 2006 - A1


The purpose of this paper is not to engage in a comparative description of laws affecting children under two sets of laws i.e., Islam and Pakistan. It is proposed to place the debate surrounding what place, rights and privileges have been accorded to a child in these two legal systems into a thematic framework and analyse the interface and interplay of the two legal traditions on rights of the child. This approach is in my view important in that oftentimes, the distinction between the different sets of laws is neither very evident nor clearly laid out. Also perhaps the most important factor to bear in mind when discussing subjects emanating from a pluralist legal tradition, is to conceive the identity of the subject of the law, in our case the child, as concentric rings in perpetual circular movements, merging different legal norms. A further word of caution: Although it may not be expressly acknowledged, but neither Islamic law, nor Pakistani law, nor indeed any legal system for that matter operates in a void. Custom and cultural practices and economic and political expediency play a major role in determining what law or norm filters through unadulterated, in its original form, and what is tailored to match existing social practices.

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