How marriage, divorce destroyed their life

How marriage, divorce destroyed their life
Rabia and Haider got married in 2001 and had two kids - Asma and Usman.

Abu Dhabi - Her mother Rabia is struggling to keep things moving as ex-husband Ghulam Haider hasn't paid a single dirham of the due maintenance for the last six years.


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 22 Jul 2017, 9:29 PM

Last updated: Sun 23 Jul 2017, 10:30 PM

Divorces hurt children the most and changes life forever for all involved. It couldn't be truer than in the case of Rabia Khan and her daughter Asma, who was just three when her parents got divorced.
Even at the age of 14, Asma has failed to recover from trauma of the day in court. Ever since, she has gone silent and lacks interest in life. Asma is termed a "special child" by her teachers and is now out of school, having failed in Grades 4 and 5.
Her mother Rabia is struggling to keep things moving as ex-husband Ghulam Haider hasn't paid a single dirham of the due maintenance for the last six years.
Rabia's misery started in 2000 as her only brother, working in an Abu Dhabi palace, died from a brain haemorrhage. "I travelled here from Karachi to take care of my brother. He passed away after a brief illness. My brother was the sole breadwinner for us four sisters and our mother. After his death, I stayed back for the final settlement." 
It was then her brother's friend - Ghulam Haider offered a helping hand. "I am just Grade 5 pass and couldn't understand things or find a job. Haider worked as an ambulance driver in the palace. He proposed to marry me. I consulted my mother and got her approval. Haider was already married and had four children."
For Rabia, too, it was a second marriage. "I first got married in December 1992. In February 1993, I went to London to be with my husband and in June he divorced me. I was sent back home thrice in three months. I was like a ping-pong ball and the misery ended in June." 
Rabia and Haider got married in 2001 and had two kids - Asma and Usman. "He used to send his salary to his first wife in Karachi. I used to get Dh500 every month. One day, he cancelled our visa and packed us off to Pakistan. There was no contact from him for two months. It was then that I arranged visit visas and returned to Abu Dhabi with both children and my mother. Seeing all of us, he ran away and went missing."
In 2005, Rabia filed a police and court case. It was then that things took an ugly turn. "I got a call from court. I rushed there and was told to sign divorce papers. I asked for a reason but neither the judge nor my husband said anything. I was broke and my kids were crying 'papa, papa' outside the court room. Asma was three, but she could sense something bad was happening. She hasn't been the same ever since. She is the worst affected."
Rabia was then paid Dh1,500 in maintenance and Dh500 for the kids. "I returned to Karachi, but didn't get a single rupee for five years till 2011. Once my mother expired, I returned to Abu Dhabi in January 2011. I wanted to put an end to this."
Rabia went back to court, seeking the maintenance amount. "Haider was summoned and that's how I got Dh10,000. The new judge raised the maintenance allowance and also asked him to pay for rent and the children's education. He paid an amount of Dh34,000 to compensate for the five years between 2005 to 2011. I was asked to apply for resident's visa."
It was then that things took an ugly turn again. "Haider went missing with the children's passports. I made the rounds of the police station, court, Pakistan Embassy, but all this didn't help get the passports or the money back."
No passports meant both kids missed out on schooling for over three years. "After more than 100 rounds of various offices, I got new passports made. I finally got my daughter admitted to school. To cut costs, I sent my son to Pakistan. He is 15 years old and in Grade 9. My daughter, however, has struggled in school. Teachers have asked me to shift her to special needs school, to try speech therapy. But doctors say she is a normal child. 
"Daily speech therapy costs Dh1,000 and it isn't covered through insurance, and she can't do normal schooling without it. I am struggling today because of lack of education. I don't want to see my story being repeated in my child's life."
Rabia works as a cook at four or five homes to make a living. She also suffers from osteoarthritis and swelling in both legs. "I stand for long hours. I have a back problem and pain in my hands due to cooking so much. I have to undergo surgery in my knees too," the 51-year-old said. 
She pins her hopes that her son, who will return after completing Grade 10 and help her. "Right now, my only concern is my daughter. She is 14 and still in Grade 5. She was very attached to her father. She went into a state of shock and fell silent once he left. She is in a trauma," Rabia said.
"Asma is suffering for no fault of her own. The pain of seeing all this is unbearable."

More news from UAE