Pakistan Law Site

The Laws of Guardianship in Pakistan

Guardianship is a Legal Arrangement

Laws of Guardianship in Pakistan

Guardianship is a natural arrangement, while legal guardianship is a legal arrangement pertaining to the care and adolescence of a child. When a parent does not exist, the court can appoint an adult as the guardian of the minor if he or she is competent and capable of acting as such. In addition to providing for the ward’s basic needs, a guardian is responsible for protecting the ward.

Laws of Guardianship in Pakistan

Legal Guardianship Can be Granted by the Family Court

Pakistani Family Law stipulates that children should be cared for and maintained by their parents. However, in certain situations, the court can grant guardianship of the children in question. For the purposes of property ownership, guardianship is defined as any person who takes care of a minor or restricted adult.

A court order, adoption (by a couple), or a will may be used to grant guardianship.

Government of Punjab’s Court of District Judges (Junior Division) Act, 1870, governs guardianship of minors under the age of 18 under section 172 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.

The Guardianship of Minors is a Growing Issue

There has been a great deal of controversy lately about the guardianship of minors through family courts, especially since a series of cases came before the courts challenging the authorities’ use of the powers given to family courts under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890. There was very little clarification on this matter upon examination.

The Guardians and Wards Act of 1890

It was still in force to regulate guardianship of minors through family courts under the Guardians and Wards Act, of 1890. To determine if a guardian should be discharged and accounts were required of him, the Court referred to the Young v. Young (1876) LR1 P and D 396.

The Difference Between Legal Guardianship and Child Custody

It is important to note that legal guardianship differs from child custody. Pakistan has undergone a paradigm shift in its laws governing marriage, divorce, minorities, guardianship, and adoption in recent years. It differs from countries such as the UK, USA, etc., in that adoption is based on parental rights and duties rather than liabilities. Except for a weak effort to codify traditional Muslim adoption rules sanctioned by the Holy Quran and Sunnah, the Pakistan Code has little to offer.

Child Protection Policy Implementation


The Pakistani government implements the State Policy on Child Protection and Welfare, which is commonly known as the Child Protection Policy. Pakistan has ratified and is a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its Optional Protocol.

The Convention requires States to ensure that children within their territory are protected and cared for from neglect, exploitation, abuse, or mistreatment by taking all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, and educational measures. The State is responsible for providing children with special care, assistance, and protection. 

Legal relationships between an adult and a child are referred to as Guardianship and Custody. The term custody refers to the biological parents of a child, while guardianship refers to the non-biological parents. When a couple separates or divorces, thinking about custody may be necessary, whereas guardianship is usually the more long-term solution. Contact a professional financial advisor for more detailed, expert advice. Comparing guardianship and custody, let’s look at their key differences.

What Is Child Custody and How Does It Work?

It is most often the biological parents who have a legal relationship with their children, called custody. 

A child’s relationship with his or her parents, typically his or her biological parents, is known as custody. It is common for parents to separate or divorce in order to dispute child custody. It is possible to assign physical or legal custody to children. Physical custody pertains to a child’s day-to-day life, including their living arrangements, medical care, and other basic needs. Legal custody, on the other hand, involves making major decisions for the child. A parent may even be able to have partial physical custody if these distinctions are considered.

Laws of Guardianship in Pakistan

What Is Guardianship?

  1. Often, guardianships are established for children under 18 requiring someone to make legal decisions on their behalf. The primary purpose of guardianship is to help incapacitated people make their own decisions.

    An older adult may be able to obtain adult guardianship in some circumstances.

    The guardian is different from the parent because he or she can make legal and physical decisions for the child. While legal guardianship can be compared to adoption in some respects, the biological parents of the child remain legally recognized as the child’s parents during the legal guardianship process. It is possible for parents to act as guardians as well, but they lose all their legal rights if they adopt.

    When a parent is incarcerated, deceased, or incapacitated for various reasons, legal guardian forms to care for the child. A legal guardian may be a relative, such as an aunt, uncle, or grandparent.

    Appointing Custodians 

    Only a court can grant custody of a child. Parents can make recommendations to the court, but the judge has the final say.

    It is also important to note that guardianships are also finalized in court, but parents can also appoint one. In the absence of a parent incarcerated, another individual may act as guardian, but parenting rights and responsibilities cannot be transferred without a court order.

    The child and all potential parties involved will meet after the paperwork has been filed, ensuring the child’s best interests are at the center of the proceedings.

Laws of Guardianship in Pakistan

Custodianship vs. Guardianship

  1. Any significant change in circumstances can lead to changes in custody if the changes are in the child’s best interest.

    Guardianships, on the other hand, usually last longer – usually until the child turns 18, or for the life of the guardian. It is possible to grant guardianship on a temporary or emergency basis in some cases.

    It is generally up to the court to determine which person is best suited to take care of a child, whether they are in custody or under guardianship.

    A large family issue, especially one involving children, should be approached carefully using guardianship and custody arrangements. Several factors need to be considered, including living arrangements, time with parents, parental availability, and individual financial decisions. A clear understanding of the procedures, duration, and basics of each procedure is crucial before making a decision that is in the best interests of the child and family.