The Supreme Court of Pakistan has declared that the “extended family” is now entitled to property left behind by parents whose kins died before 1956.
The decision was made after a petition was filed by one Abdul Ghafoor, who wanted his estate to be released from any claims being made upon it by the government or relatives. The petitioners had claimed that Section 4 of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance (MFLO) gave the government and heirs to a deceased person’s estate six months from the date of death to file for claims within this timeframe.
Five Justices – headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar – heard the case, during which it was brought up that four people had filed claims on the estate of Abdul Ghafoor’s late mother as per the MFLO.
One of those who presented a claim was Abdul Ghafoor’s nephew, who said that his father – the deceased woman’s brother – died two months before her and had left behind a will establishing him as their son’s heir.
The Supreme Court, however, held that the entire estate could not be taken by Abdul Ghafoor’s nephew as he had died within two months of his father. The court also acknowledged the fact that there was no mention of Section 4 in the woman’s will despite the fact that she had earlier been anointed as inheritor.
The judges also noted that, with regards to the MFLO, Section 4 had been “added in a manner which is repugnant to Islamic injunctions”. The court added that there were no legal provisions for anyone wishing to claim an inheritance from their relatives.
In light of this, Abdul Ghafoor’s petition was henceforth granted and the government was barred from claiming his estate.
The decision also allowed Abdul Ghafoor’s aunts to make their own claims on his mother’s estate, something which had previously been restricted by the authorities due to Section 4 of the MFLO.