LAHORE: In order to provide greater legal rights to Hindu families, President Mamnoon Hussain signed the Hindu Marriage Bill 2017 into law on the advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday.
According to a statement issued by the president’s office, the law aims to protect the marriage, the family, the mother, and child and also to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Hindu families.
In his message, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that his government has always focused on providing equal rights to minority communities in Pakistan.
“They are as patriotic as any other community and, therefore, it is the responsibility of the state to provide equal protection to them,” stated the prime minister.
Under the law, Hindu families will be able to solemnise marriages in accordance with the customary rites, rituals and ceremonies. The government will also appoint marriage registrars in areas where Hindu populations reside for the registration of their marriages.
This law also provides for procedures relating to restitution of conjugal rights, judicial separation, void and voidable marriages, termination of Hindu marriages, financial security of wife and children, alternate relief in termination of marriage and termination of marriage by mutual consent.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League -Nawaz legislator Ramesh Kumaar, while talking to The Express Tribune said, “With this law the marriage registration issue faced by our community along with many other issues will be addressed.”
Another lawmaker of the ruling party, Bahwan Das, voiced the same opinion, saying, “With this bill, the small lacunas within our legal system, for the Hindu community, will be addressed.”
Meanwhile, secretary general of the Hindi Sudhar Sabha Aroon Kumar Kundnani termed the signing of the bill a landmark decision by the PML-N government. The bill, according to him, will provide the Hindu community with social security.
Kundani said, “[This law] It will stop marriages of girls under 18 years and forced marriages,” adding that this will also provide equal citizenship to the Hindu community.
(With additional input by our correspondent in Islamabad)