Can a girl change her surname to “Pakistan”?

The Supreme Court on Thursday, while hearing a case of a teenage girl who sought emancipation from her father, directed the man to pay expenses he owed to his daughter.

The girl, identified as Tatheer Fatima, had filed a petition and requested Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, to remove her father’s name from her birth certificate and all of her educational degrees and other documents.

Tatheer wanted her last name removed and changed to ‘Tatheer Fatima bint-e-Pakistan’ instead.

“The name of the man, who does not deserve to be called a father, who does not provide for me, who I haven’t even met since childhood, should not be associated with mine,” the girl had said in her petition.

The chief justice upon hearing the petitioner’s case had ordered the director-general of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to present the girl’s father in the court.

In today’s hearing, the chief justice directed the father to pay the financial expenses he owed to her. “You will have to remedy this,” the top judge told her father, “The expenses for all the years that have passed will be recovered from you…” he added.

During the proceedings, the top court also told the girl that there was no law permitting the axing of a father’s name from a child’s.

The petitioner’s mother who was also present asked the court, “Parents are allowed to and can disown their children, so why can’t the children disown their parents?”

After the court directions, the girl’s father told the CJP that he was a poor man. In response, the CJ asked the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe his financial records to determine whether this was true. The FIA DG was directed by the court to closely examine the case.

“If you are poor, you will face the civil case and go to jail,” the CJP responded.

She said that the children should be given the right to decide on retaining the name of the person who actually raised them.

She reiterated her request to the court to allow her father’s name to be removed from all government documents.