18-above mandatory marriage bill dismissed

PA refuses to entertain opposition's bills, resolutions on private members' day

Hafeez Tunio June 09, 2021
Sindh Assembly Session. PHOTO: NNI


A Muttahida Maljis-e-Amal MPA's private bill to compel all those who are 18 and above to marry was met with as much opposition in the Sindh Assembly as it was by social activists.

MPA Abdul Rasheed requested speaker Agha Siraj Durrani to take up his private Sindh Compulsory Marriage Act 2021 bill which suggested a fine on any adults refusing to tie the knot. Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mukesh Kumar Chawla opposed the bill. "We can't allow such a law in the province," he stressed.

Durrani promptly rejected the bill and dismissed the motion.

The bill had drawn the ire of civil society and women rights activists soon after it was submitted to the Sindh Assembly Secretariat in the last week of May 2021.

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's sisters Asefa Bhutto Zardari and Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari also opposed the proposed law. They urged Sindh chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah not to allow any such discriminatory legislation to be passed on the floor of the assembly.

The law proposed that parents be compelled to provide reasons for their child's delayed nuptials in case they were not wed-locked by 18. "The parents have to submit a declaration with the concerned deputy commissioner, citing the reasons for delaying marriage. Those who fail to inform the DC will have to pay a Rs500 fine for each adult child," one of the clauses of the bill read.

After submitting the private bill at the assembly secretariat, Rasheed, who belongs to Jamaat-e-Islami, which has been a part of the MMA alliance since 2018, correlated the rising number of rape and sexual assault cases with the ratio of unmarried people. "These kind of immoral activities take place when people don't marry their children on time." A day for the MPAs It was private members' day on Tuesday when the assembly had to focus on private resolutions and bills moved by MPAs. On this day, the government does not bring its own agenda. However, the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party did not allow any bill to be passed and rejected most of the motions moved by opposition members. PTI's Adeeba Hassan moved the Sindh Differently-Abled Persons (Employment, Rehabilitation and Welfare) Amendment Bill 2018.

The minister for parliamentary maintained that Sindh had already passed a relevant law on the matter and there was no need to table another bill. Hassan also moved the Sindh Child Protection Authority (Amendment bill), but this was also rejected. It was stated that the SCPA already worked under the same mandate. Rabia Azfar of PTI withdrew her "Sindh Prohibition of Methametaphine Bill. According to Chawla, an anti-narcotics law had already been passed so the private bill moved by the MPA clashed with the legislation.

The West Pakistan Motor Vehicles Ordinace 1965 (Sindh Amendment) Bill 2019, moved by PTI's Khurum Sher Zaman, was on the agenda. However, it could not be taken up due to the parliamentarian's absence from the house.

As Saeed Ahmed of PTI moved his private Sindh Prohibition of Private Money Lending Bill 2019, it was deferred as Chawla announced the government intended to introduce a law on the matter after the budget.

Also, Grand Democratic Alliance MPA Arif Mustafa Jatoi's Sindh Civil Courts Amendment 2019 bill could not be passed as the house was informed that the matter was subjudice and may be considered in future.

Earlier, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment Yousaf Baloch asserted strict action would be taken against illegal factories creating environmental pollution in various areas of Karachi.

"We have already closed down 200 such factories," he said.

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