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Parental Alienation Syndrome PAS in Pakistan

Parental Alienation Syndrome in Pakistan

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in Pakistan: A Growing Concern

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a concerning phenomenon in child custody disputes around the world, but has seen a sharp growth particularly in Pakistan. It occurs when a custodial parent, intentionally or unintentionally, turns the child against the other parent (usually the non-custodial parent). This can lead to emotional manipulation, bad-mouthing, and ultimately, a severing of the child’s relationship with the alienated parent.

What is PAS and Why Does it Matter?

PAS (Direct) is not currently recognized as a mental disorder by the World Health Organization (WHO), but is recognized more broadly within the WHO’s diagnostic manual (ICD-11) under a broader category called “Childhood Disorders of Parenting,” which could encompass situations like PAS, but doesn’t explicitly mention it.

The concept is gaining traction in legal and social circles due to its detrimental impact on children. Studies suggest that alienated children experience emotional distress, confusion, and difficulty forming healthy relationships later in life.

What are the signs of Parental Alienation Syndrome in Pakistan?

In matters of Parental Alienation, the aggressor is, in almost all cases, the custodial parent, who will brainwash the child and poison the mind of the child against the non-custodial parent. This would include (but are not limited to):-

  • Telling the child off for spending time with the non-custodial parent.
  • Coaching the child to not speak to the non-custodial parent, or to speak ill of them.
  • Forcing the child to tell lies and make up excuses to not see the non-custodial parent, or make bogus allegations against them.
  • Incentivising the child to not engage with their non-custodial parent, or to engage aggresively with them.
  • Putting the non-custodial parent down either in front of (or behind the back of) the non-custodial parent.
  • Misusing court procedure to distance the child from their non-custodial parent.

Recognition of PAS in Other Countries

While not a formal diagnosis, PAS has received recognition in court systems of some countries:

  • USA: Several US states consider PAS evidence in child custody cases. Judges may use it to ensure continued and healthy contact between the child and the alienated parent.
  • UK: Similar to the US, courts in the UK acknowledge the potential harm caused by parental alienation and consider it during custody proceedings.
  • India: The Indian courts, though not explicitly recognizing PAS, have addressed parental alienation in judgments, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship between a child and both parents.

Challenges of Proving PAS in Pakistan

Pakistan’s legal system currently lacks a framework to address PAS specifically. Here’s why proving it in court can be challenging:

  • Absence of a Formal Diagnosis: Since the WHO doesn’t recognize PAS in a direct manner, it’s difficult to present it as a medical fact in court.
  • Limited Awareness: Many judges and lawyers may not be familiar with the concept of PAS, making it harder to argue its relevance in a case.
  • Focus on Traditional Custody Arrangements: Pakistan’s child custody laws prioritize gender in some cases, potentially hindering efforts to ensure continued contact with the alienated parent.
  • Lack of Proactiveness from Non-Custodial Parents: Far too often we see that parents who are affected by this tend not to report or highlight this matter, which simply grows to become a bigger problem later down the line.
How to handle Parental Alienation Syndrome in Pakistan

Despite these challenges, there are steps that can be taken to handle this matter more efficiently:

  • Highlighting individual instances of PAS: During a child visitation, if the child/children demonstrate symptoms of PAS, the custodial parent should immediately file an application before the presiding Family Judge for a Mental health professionals opinion on the behavioural change of the child.
  • Keeping a record of all instances where PAS symptoms have been noticed: Keeping all these instances on file makes a drastic impact on the ongoing child custody litigation. This shows that the non-custodial parent is keen on their childs upbringing before the court, and can sway a decision to ultimately change the custody of the child.
  • Apply to change custody of the child: Courts ultimately seek the better interest of the childs welfare. By applying for a change of custody based on repeated instances of induced Parental Alienation Syndrome by the Custodial Parent, the courts will have no choice but to consider the best interests of the child, regardless of gender, and acknowledge the potential harm of parental alienation, which could ultimately lead to a change of custody.

We can assist in these kinds of matters

Parental alienation is a complex issue with no easy solutions. However, by acknowledging its existence and exploring ways to address it within the existing legal framework, Pakistani courts can work towards ensuring the best possible outcomes for children caught in the middle of parental conflict.

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