Protecting their future: Social activists push for anti-child marriage bill

Ask how an immature girl can even raise a child


Our Correspondent February 16, 2016
Ask how an immature girl can even raise a child. "Child bride" PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR: Social activists and religious scholars raised their voices in favour of the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2016 at a meeting held in the city on Tuesday.

The bill, which prohibits underage marriages, was moved in the National Assembly by PML-N MNA Marvi Memon in January. However, the proposal was withdrawn after the Council of Islamic Ideology shot down the bill and termed it “un-Islamic and blasphemous”.

At Tuesday’s moot, representatives from Aurat Foundation, religious scholars and elected representatives from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa threw their weight behind the 2016 bill.

Religious scholar Arshad Qayyum said three factors are important for a Nikkah –wit, consent and puberty. Qayyum added “physical and mental maturity” of a girl was also extremely necessary.

MPA Sobia Khan, who also attended the meeting, said the bill might have been rejected because it was presented by a woman.

“An immature and uneducated girl cannot raise a child properly,” she said.

Shabeena, a social activist, urged the federal and provincial governments to approve the bill to protect the future of children.

She said, “If we are expected to be 18 years old to obtain a CNIC, why can’t a similar rule apply for marriage?”

Members of the meeting pressed the government and punish anyone who facilitates child marriage. They said such people should be imprisoned and fined according to the law.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2016.

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