A devout Muslim who said he had been married under Sharia law and could not be divorced in UK has lost a High Court fight.

The man's wife, who has dual British and Pakistani nationality, had issued a petition for divorce in England.

But the man said divorce could only be approved in Pakistan.

A judge has dismissed his claim after a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in Birmingham.

Mr Justice Francis said the woman lived in England and had a right to seek a divorce in England.

He suggested if he had ruled in favour of the man he would have been approving "racial and gender discrimination".

"So far as the husband is concerned, he says that he was married pursuant to Sharia law, that is a religious contract, and he contends that only Pakistan has the jurisdiction to hear this divorce," said the judge in a ruling.

"He does not want to get divorced and does not intend to get divorced.

"The consequence, therefore, of his proposition is that the wife, who works and lives in England and pays her taxes in England and is habitually resident here, and domiciled here, at least for tax purposes, should have to travel to Pakistan to secure a divorce."

Mr Justice Francis said the man's claim had "far-reaching consequences".

"It would mean that she would be subjected to different rules of English law than people of other faiths or other nationalities living here," said the judge.

"It seems to me that the consequence, or a consequence, of the husband's submission would be that I would therefore be approving both racial and gender discrimination."

He added: "It would be racial discrimination because what is said is that because the wife has dual nationality, both British and Pakistani, that as a national of Pakistan she should be treated differently from a British citizen who is not a national of Pakistan."

And he went on: "There is no expert evidence before me about the position in Pakistan but it is reasonably clear from what I have been shown that the rights granted to men in Pakistan to secure divorces pursuant to the laws of that country are different from the rights granted to women and that it is more onerous for a woman to secure a divorce in Pakistan than it is for a man."

Mr Justice Francis did not identify the couple involved.