Marvi Memon and CII chairman face off over child marriage laws

Published: March 25, 2014
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CII chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Shirani (L) and Marvi Memon of PML-N (R). PHOTO:FILE

CII chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Shirani (L) and Marvi Memon of PML-N (R). PHOTO:FILE

ISLAMABAD: In an apparent rebuff to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII)’s stand on child marriage, Marvi Memon, along with other members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), on Tuesday proposed harsher punishments for those found guilty of the act.

The CII had recently ruled that laws on child marriage were un-Islamic, but members from the ruling PML-N took an opposing stance on the floor of the National Assembly on Tuesday by proposing that punishment for those who contract and solemnize the marriage should be harsher.

The CII in its 191th meeting on March 10 had given the ruling that laws related to minimum age of marriage were un-Islamic and that children of any age could get married if they attain puberty.

The move in the National Assembly earned the ire of other members, most prominently Maulana Muhammad Khan Shirani, the chairman of the CII.

“The CII had already given its recommendations over the Act and it should have not come in the National Assembly,” said Shirani after Marvi Memon of PML-N introduced a bill seeking amendments in the Act.

Movers of the bill also include Asiya Naz Tanoli, Muhammad Pervaiz Malik and Shaista Pervaiz.

Shirani opposed the proposed amendments saying that they were contrary to Islamic teachings and laws. In order to substantiate his arguments, he quoted Article 2, 7 and 227 of the Constitution, several verses from Quran and Hadith and said that according to Islamic laws marriage can be solemnised when a girl attains puberty.

“Parliament could not legislate laws which are against the teachings of Quran and Sunnah,” he added.

Another JUI-F member, Moulana Ameer Zaman said that the issue should be referred to the CII further perusal and discussion.

Commenting over the issue, Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Yousaf said that the bill be referred to the relevant standing committee for further deliberations as it was proposed by the Speaker NA.

However, SA Iqbal Qadri from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement [MQM] had a different take as he also opposed the idea of introducing the bill in lower house but on a different ground.

“After the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment the subject [marriage] has become a provincial subject and the bill should not have come here,” he added.

Amendments proposed by the Bill

The bill had sought amendments in the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 proposing six amendments in the existing laws.

The bill has proposed strict punishment through amendment which says “Whoever, being a male above eighteen years of age, contracts child marriage shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one hundred thousand rupees, or with both.”

Before the amendment, the Act said that the punishment should be “simple”, may extend to “one month” and fine may extend to one thousands rupees.

Similarly, the punishment for solemnizing the child marriage has been suggested to be “rigorous” instead of “simple”, for “two years” instead of existing “one month” and the fine should be “one hundred thousands” instead of one thousands.

The bill has also proposed three substitutions in section 8, 9 and 12. Substation in section 8 reads “Jurisdiction under this Act:- The Family Court, established under section 3 of the West Pakistan Family Court Act 1964 (No.XXXV of 1964) shall exercise jurisdiction under this Act and may take cognizance of an offence in the manner provided by section 190 of the code of Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 (No. V of 1898).”

Substitution of Section 9 says that offences under this Act shall be cognizable “All offences under this Act shall be cognizable; such cognizance shall in no case be taken after the expiry of one year from the date on which offence in alleged to have been committed.”

The final amendment proposed substitution of Section 12 that relates to Power to issue injunction prohibiting marriage “(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law, the court may, if satisfied from information laid before it through a complaint or otherwise that a child marriage in contravention of this Act is going to be arranged or is about to be solemnized, issue an injunction prohibiting such marriage. (2) Whoever, knowing that an injunction has been issued against him under sub-section (1) of this section, disobeys such injunction, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year with fine which may extend to one hundred thousand rupees, or both.”

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Asad Shairani
    Mar 25, 2014 - 6:14PM

    Also disband the CII and punish those who encourage such barbaric acts. Recommend

  • Wizarat
    Mar 25, 2014 - 7:01PM

    18th amendment of the Pakistani constitution is just a paper tiger and is being used by all political parties to gain political mileage; politicians should actually implement all provisions of this amendment to claim any credit.

    Pakistanis are waiting for this amendment to be made effective and true devolution/transfer of power from the Federal government to the provinces to take place.Recommend

  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Mar 25, 2014 - 7:10PM

    Well done Marvi Memon, puberty could happen even in 10 years old children and they are children, children should never be put in this situation under any circumstances. Children should be protected and loved for they are children. Recommend

  • Mughees
    Mar 25, 2014 - 7:10PM

    The islamic laws have surely a different basis and it cannot be incorporated in human rights framework that is the outcome of 400 centuries literature that promotes freedom and assume that human beings are an end in itself.Recommend

  • Mar 25, 2014 - 7:52PM

    How long I say how long we will continue to be guided by social customs of a society that existed hundreds of years before. On this basis the world is still to be taken as flat and sun moon and stars be going around the earth. We should not be flying warplanes or using modern medicines. Heart transplant or kidney transplant of one human being to the other should be sin of highest order and no mullah, pundit or padri should take this treatment of transplant. Let us follow with utmost reverence the spiritual teachings and not the customs of an era gone.

    Recommend

  • hellodrsoul
    Mar 25, 2014 - 7:57PM

    Make a new constitution, update the outdated resource or this country is gonna become obsolete like its laws. The whole brouhaha here is due to conflicting and rigid unnatural laws.

    Recommend

  • lkhan
    Mar 25, 2014 - 8:01PM

    Child marriage is cruel – girls ought to be in schools, learning, hopefully enabling them to earn a livelihood. When ready for marriage, they would apply education to health, diet issues, their offspring better off, plus provide to the home economy. Through education, they would be able to decide whether to have three children or nine, they would become mothers at a later age which would be good for their own health, improving gender equality. These mullahs ought not to be allowed to interfere in Pakistan’s policies for the welfare of its citizens, especially women. President Carter has recently had a book published on gender inequality in the world, and blames religion whether Christianity or Islam or others for the unfairness meted out to women.

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/24/jimmy-carter-call-to-action-women-girls-abuse

    Recommend

  • just_someone
    Mar 25, 2014 - 8:10PM

    You go girl!

    Recommend

  • Anticorruption
    Mar 25, 2014 - 8:38PM

    Well done Marvi!Recommend

  • Zog
    Mar 25, 2014 - 9:06PM

    Lets send the CII on a one way life time holiday to Kandahar…

    Please just go away…

    No one wants you master debators… Recommend

  • Common Man
    Mar 25, 2014 - 9:10PM

    Strange!!!!! It’s more than 1400yrs, and our scholars still discussing these basic issues.Recommend

  • Hasham
    Mar 25, 2014 - 9:43PM

    Storm in teacup!
    For girls, puberty begins around ages 10 or 11 and ends around age 16. Boys enter puberty later than girls – usually around age 12 – and it lasts until around ages 16 or 17. Set minimum age for marriage 17/18 for boys and 16/17 for girls. i.e. when puberty ends! Sorted!!!!Recommend

  • A. Khan
    Mar 25, 2014 - 9:53PM

    Marvi Memon and PML(N) have my full admiration and support in taking this stance against CII. It is time, nay overdue, to consign the CII and associated dinosaurs to dust bin of history. We have THE book.

    Has anyone cared to read it in its translated form ? Why do we need someone to tell us what it says ?Recommend

  • Parvez
    Mar 25, 2014 - 11:15PM

    Well done Marvi Memon……….the PML-N does something right for a change.Recommend

  • Kashif
    Mar 26, 2014 - 1:25AM

    Why are Indians trolling ?? Child marriage (baal vivaah) happens all over India, in every nook and corner of the country.

    Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Mar 26, 2014 - 1:50AM

    Mr Shirani is on a wet wicket! He has too much to loose if he sticks to the ritual of underage children marriages whch are later confirmed by the individuals when of adult age. This practice or traditions, no matter how sincere it may sound, must be stopped instantly! Mr Shirani is confusing 7th century traditions with Sunnah!

    Rex Minor Recommend

  • Mar 26, 2014 - 8:05PM

    @Kashif: I agree… but in the past. Now you will not find even the most right of right like RSS or any pundit, padri or gurdwara supporting such out dated social customs. These and such customs have nothing to do with religion these are purely social customs that must change with time.Recommend

  • codamred
    Mar 26, 2014 - 10:46PM

    The bill has proposed strict punishment through amendment which says “Whoever, being a male above eighteen years of age, contracts child marriage shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one hundred thousand rupees, or with both.”
    WHY ONLY MALES? why not punish FEMALES? females commit so many crimes and rapes too…why punish only males? gender discrimination !!!Recommend

  • Mar 26, 2014 - 11:29PM

    @Kashif:
    the legislation in India says that minimum marriageable age of the girl is 16 years and any violation of it is punishable with fine and/or imprisonment.The person responsible to solemnise too shall also be held guilty and punished. Bal vivah in India NOW are few and far between and is being treated as a social evil. Recommend

  • Mani
    Mar 29, 2014 - 5:19AM

    @codamred:
    In Pakistan only a male can contract a marriage. Women do not have such rights. You need to read a bit more about Pakistan before crying gender discrimination against men here.

    Recommend

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