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Iqra Khan
S.J.D. Candidate

ikhan at


Muslim Family Law Ordinance in Pakistan and Bangladesh; A Comparative Study of Development and Impact

After gaining independence in 1971, Bangladesh inherited Pakistan’s legal system, including the Muslim Family Law Ordinance (MFLO) and other statuary provisions on divorce and custody. As Pakistan began its turn to Islamization soon thereafter, the Bangladeshi constitution embraced secularism as one of the four foundational pillars of the State. Against this background, the application, interpretation, and amendment of the shared Muslim Family Law Ordinance in the two countries presents the opportunity of a fascinating comparative study. My Dissertation maps the differences in operation of the MFLO between the two countries, and seeks to uncover the legal, social, and political contexts that have contributed to these divergences. The second part of my research utilizes ethnographic fieldwork to ascertain whether either country has managed to attain the Ordinance’s aim of giving “women proper place in society.” If not, which country is inching closer to that aim and why?

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • Comparative Family Law with Professor Janet Halley, Harvard Law School, Principal Faculty Supervisor
  • Critical Legal Studies with Professor Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School
  • South Asian Studies with Julia Stephens, Rutgers

Additional Research Interests

  • Islamic Law
  • Law and Gender
  • Feminist Legal Theory
  • Comparative Constitutional Law


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. Candidate 2021 – Present
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M. Program 2020-2021 (requirements fulfilled, degree waived)
  • University of London External System, LL.B. 2016

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • Harvard Law School, Program in Islamic Law Writing Prize, 2021
  • Harvard Law School, 2020-2021, Gammon Fellowship, 2020-21

Representative Publications

Additional Information

  • Languages: English, Urdu, Punjabi

Last Updated: September 13, 2021