Underage marriage: Police foil party for 5-year-old bride’s parents

Published: April 21, 2012

The minor girl was being married off to an 18-year-old, who will be nominated as accused in FIR. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

PESHAWAR: Police on Friday managed to foil a plan to marry off a minor girl to an 18-year-old boy in the outskirts of Peshawar.

“They were informed that marriage of underage girls is illegal and they were shocked,” a policeman, who was part of the raid, told The Express Tribune. “They said we’re illiterate and do not know about the law.” The girl’s parents have been arrested.

Five-year-old Ajwa, from the Garhi Qasaban area of Pajjagai Road, was being married off to Amir Khan, who is a resident of Garhi Atta Muhammad.

While the police arrested only the girl’s parents and not the boy’s, DSP Riazul Islam said that an FIR will be registered against not just the girl’s but the boy himself and his parents as well for attempting to marry an underage girl.

The marriage of underage boys and girls is a crime under the Marriage Restrict Act of 1929 as well as against the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child, said Imran Takkar, the operations manager at NGO the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child. Pakistan has ratified and signed the UN charter.

“Under the marriage act, no girl below the age of 16 can be married off. The UN convention says that any boy or girl below the age of 18 is a child,” Takkar explained.

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