Marying for Love

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LAHORE, Pakistan: A court upheld the wedding of one Pakistani woman who married against her parents' wishes but did not settle the thorny question o f whether a woman may marry whatever man she chooses. The case, which pitted hardline Islamists against human rights advocates, was initiated last year by the parents of a young woman named Saima Waheed. They disapproved of her choice of husband and w anted her marriage annulled. Lawyers for Saima's parents argued that the tenets of Islam prohibit women from marrying without parental permission -- and indeed such permission is the norm in Pakistan. The judges ruled that Saima's marriage was valid a nd did not violate Islamic doctrine. What the split on was whether the law permits women to make their own choices in marriage. One of the three judges said the marriage should be annulled. Another said it was legal. The third came out somewhere in the m iddle, saying women normally need their parents' permission to marry, but that Waheed's parents gave their tacit consent by allowing the man who would become their daughter's husband into their home.