If the Immigration and Passports DG had his way, you’d never truly be rid of your ex

Divorced women of Pakistan, the person in charge of issuing your passports has a suggestion most foul.
Updated 24 May, 2024

You will never get rid of your ex if the director-general of immigration and passports, Mustafa Jamal Kazi, gets his way. He told Geo News in a recent interview that he believed divorced women should have their former spouse’s name on their passport to prove the parentage of their children. Someone stop this man!

The issue was highlighted through the case of a woman named Khadija Bukhari, who was told by the passport issuing authority to get a new ID card bearing the name of her husband in order to obtain a new passport even though her information was up to date in the Nadra system. As if the same ministry isn’t overseeing both departments. Her matter is currently in court as she had the sensible idea to overturn the entire system — a true girlboss.

A committee has been formed by Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi to deliberate on the issue of women being required to have their husband’s names on their passports, which is in contradiction to the Nadra option to retain your father’s name on your ID card after marriage.

Kazi was invited on a Geo TV morning show to discuss Bukhari’s case but the conversation ended up devolving to how to verify parentage via passports — only the mother’s, of course. To be clear — it is not being stated that Kazi’s comments are to be taken as policy. He said he believed that this should be the case and that amendments should be brought in to the existing passport policy to include an ex-husband’s name on a woman’s passport. But he’s the head of the immigration and passports department, so his musings have more weight than the average person’s and therefore must be considered with due caution. You never know which middle-aged man’s musings the government will adopt into policy.

His logic is astounding and deeply flawed. It seems to bank on the fact that one woman will only have ever married and divorced one man. If a woman has two children from two different husbands, does she put both husband’s names on her passport? Will her passport bear a laundry list of names if she marries a third time? If she divorces all three husbands, her passport would bear the names of all three men and her father. We wonder if there’d be enough room for her own name in the booklet if that were the case.

If the question, as he claimed, is of a child’s parentage, then a child’s passport should bear the names of both parents. By that logic should the wife’s name not be on the husband’s passport as well?

He also claimed that there is no database abroad allowing border control authorities in foreign countries access to information on Pakistani citizens, which is why your child’s parentage must be reflected in your passport. This is the 21st century, does Pakistan really not have a system through which this basic information can be shared with foreign countries? And whatever happened to our FRC, which is being asked for by multiple countries in their visa processes.

This is actually quite believable — a colleague recently travelled abroad and at immigration, when she asked if there was no system through which the border control authorities could cross-check her visa status in another country, she was met with a chuckle and an admonition for thinking Pakistan’s system was this “Hi-Fi”.

Currently, the law requires that a woman have her husband’s name on her passport. We believe there’s no mention of requiring your ex-husband’s name on your passport but we can’t be too sure — at the time of writing this piece, the website for the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports was down. We should have expected this.

As the Geo anchors pointed out, many men abandon their families and their (ex) wives and children are left high and dry. The burden of deadbeat fathers and husbands often falls on women. Must they then be dependent on the whims of the man in order to get a passport or any other form of ID? The answer to that is yes.

In 2018, a woman named Tatheer Fatima petitioned the Supreme Court to allow her to use the last name Bint-e-Pakistan and remove her father’s name from her documents so that she could get an ID card — the father in question hadn’t registered the young woman and so she wasn’t able to apply for one. The court dismissed her petition.

Even when a woman is rid of said man, the idea that she would forever be required to have his name on her identification documents is ridiculous. You can’t choose your parents, but you can choose your spouse and when a woman has chosen to leave said spouse, why must she be reminded forever that she was married to him?

And what about all those documents that the government requires for everything? By Kazi’s own admission, divorces are often acrimonious endeavours, so why then would he make women go through an added layer of irritation for their passport?

The world has moved on and so has Pakistan, in some ways, but it seems a Pakistani woman will never really be rid of her ex.


Taj Ahmad May 24, 2024 05:20pm
Green or Blue Pakistani passport make no sense at all, we should have green passport for all Pakistani Citizens and Blue Passport for all diplomats serving their respective countries in capital Islamabad-Pakistan.
G Rana May 24, 2024 05:42pm
Unbelievable! How crude, uneducated, uninformed and stupid is the law that a women is required to have her ex husbands name on the passport. This should be struck down immediately.
Orion May 24, 2024 05:57pm
If we were to put a sane and capable person as a DG, this discussion would end before it started. We always find well connected goons to sit on important seats.
Adil May 24, 2024 06:08pm
Pakistan’s identity regimen is anti-woman. Glad I was born male in this country.
Fast comment May 24, 2024 06:41pm
Neither there’s father’s name, nor husband’s name, in US Passport. Passport is a travel document, not nikanama.
Ehsan May 24, 2024 06:56pm
Primitive tribal thinking. Civilized societies only require the name of the individual
Allaisa May 24, 2024 07:15pm
What is this silly system? Why should an adult woman have any one's name on her passport except her own? This is colonial hang up and you should get rid of it, the sooner the better. Women are NOT chattle (or not even cattle) to be owned by a man. In the US where I live only my wife's is on her passport.
Jehanzeb May 24, 2024 07:35pm
The DG passports should be immediately removed from this post. He is mentally not fit for a such an important and sensitive job.
NYS May 24, 2024 08:05pm
NADRA is an autonomous body while passport office have no single authority.. Like this case there are many more cases that are under the carpet and no one bother to highlight --- Now it's time to board the entangled matters
Khaled May 24, 2024 08:54pm
Very aptly analysed. Like the part about the passport bearing the 'laundry list'.
Imran Ahmed May 24, 2024 10:38pm
Ridiculously petty minded men of limited intelligence are occupying positions of authority over their betters. This is unsurprising. It is how our country has always been run.
Mama May 25, 2024 01:54am
Tahir May 25, 2024 02:33am
Not even a single country in the world have any information about the family of the passport holder. Why Pakistani passport should have the details of the family on passport. Yes the issuing authority should keep the info in record. Passport should just have name ,date of birth and place/country of birth like any other passport in the world
Shah Nawaz Bokhari May 25, 2024 07:38am
in my perception, the name of the father should be retained in the educational record by all the women. however, in the issue of ID cards the name of a husband there is no needed to mention the name of the husband. this is the only solution to avoid any misconceptions and realistic circumstances faced by the women to get a passport.
Mo Ash May 25, 2024 08:51am
Sadly this kind of mentality exists in countries like Pakistan.
Murium May 25, 2024 10:28am
I am a divorced mother, and solicited the Family Court to be allowed to travel with my child. Technically that is the correct way, and only way to have a passport applied and issued for, for a minor! There is no need to mention anything else...
Salma Hussain May 25, 2024 12:55pm
Outside Pakistan a mother travelling with children needs a govt document/ form showing permission from children's father to show at the border. No need to add special box in pasport.
Sana May 25, 2024 01:51pm
Funny, none of the acts and rules he quoted mention that a married or divorced woman must write her husband's name on the passport. Fuzool baatein. And what if she has no kids or she has different kids from different ex husbands. Also there are a number of supporting documents a mother can show to prove she is their parent, children are not only known by their fathers. Passports across the world do not require women to even declare their spouse name. Men running this country are losing it.
Canuck May 25, 2024 03:12pm
There should only be your name. No need to have even father's name. Also no need to mention religion. That's non of government business. Also, Canadian passport has the option to remove your place of birth. So no one can discriminate. Pakistan has a long way to go.
saad May 25, 2024 04:51pm
Absolutely. And all previous husbands. Father and Grandfathers too. We must be absolutely careful. And let’s forget our faithful men. Must include all wives and previous wives. Father and grandparents too. We must be absolutely sure. Thus all are issues will be resolved.
Arshad Raza May 25, 2024 04:56pm
Pakistani land is land of Men and not women. DG Mustafa Jamal Kazi should be ashamed making comments like this as he is a DG of Immigration, these are very vague comments. He should be sacked as he does not know is own department policy.
Anonymouseee May 25, 2024 05:21pm
I don’t see any issue with this order. One cannot implement eradicate a past relationship.
Jamil Soomro May 25, 2024 05:51pm
If you are a single "educated" Pakistani woman then think not twice but four times before getting married. This is what awaits you.?
Rabia Ahmad May 25, 2024 06:00pm
Definition of Democracy (official version): Government of the People; by the People; for the People. Definition of Democracy (Pakistani version): Government of the Men; by the Men; for the Men. Beyond ridiculous!
Obaid May 25, 2024 10:34pm
In a country like ours, where women struggle to get a divorce certificate from a secretary union council, whose husband have verbally divorced his spouse but nil documents formally needed to prove divorce status. The stigma of divorce in our society is just a taboo for women, no matter how innocent the woman might be, as usually the blame ends up on a woman's incapability to adopt the in-laws or the husband. Having said this long intro in detail, the purpose was to highlight, how can a woman accept her ex name, while she have opted to get rid of that man in life. The plea of parental identity can be synchronized by adding a column of father's name against a child data, but to add the ex with a woman shall never be an option to put on the front page. Nadra already accept father's name which is fair enough and an acceptable norm in our culture. Thus DG passport may hear about it from women forums who can better argue in favor or against the proposal. The laws and regulations are made for people, not the people are to be forced to accept something which generally doesn't exist around us.
Khalid Sultan May 26, 2024 12:21am
I am US Citizen of Pakistan origin since 1980,s Availing dual citizenship, recently I tried to apply for Pakistan Passport also, since I misplaced/lost my previous Pakistan passport almost 40 years ago, Passport office required me to lodge lost Passport FIR with local police. Even Nadra had no record of my Pakistan Passport. This was absurd, police report may be required if any valid Passport was lost in recent years.
Khalid Sultan May 26, 2024 12:23am
NIC is enough proof of one’s nationality. Anyone with valid NIC should be eligible for Passport issuance
Sultan May 26, 2024 12:12pm
It seems this High Fai Officer is a NUT
Raja May 26, 2024 12:13pm
This is absolutely horrendous. How can a DG even put forward such a disgraceful idea. Speak volumes about the mindset.
Adnan May 26, 2024 02:25pm
Why does a married woman required to have her husband's name on the passport and while a married man has no such requirement? Isn't it discrimination?
Skeptic May 26, 2024 03:45pm
Sounds like folks at these departments are rather ''green" in their skills to think clearly.
Sadia Khalil May 27, 2024 01:20am
Why is a birth certificate not enough to prove the child's association with the mother? I travel around the world with my child's passport and birth certificate (USA), and no one ever asks if I am married to his father. They only care that the father's written consent is there when leaving the US without the father. The same is true if he is traveling with his father without his mother. They need a letter of consent from the mother or guardian.
Erum Zubedi May 27, 2024 08:37am
Wow, a wonderful piece of article and a very well-written message to spread to the masses
Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad May 28, 2024 04:44pm
Tip of the iceberg.
Abdurahman May 29, 2024 01:00pm
Go to Ethiopia, girl has her own name to her family boy has his own name to his family, married or not. My wife is biftu shamso ... and may name is Abdurahman ibra.... forever. our child is mahboub Abdu...
Queen May 30, 2024 08:27am
And yet Aurat March, which has opinions on everything under the sun except women rights, is silent.