KARACHI: Sindh’s Provincial Assembly has proposed a new draft law on making the marriage of 18-year-olds mandatory as soon as possible.
The bill has been submitted to make marriage compulsory for 18-year-olds. MPA Syed Abdul Rashid submitted the draft law to the Assembly Secretariat.
Sources said the bill won the approval of numerous members of the Sindh Assembly, and its initial implementation phase is expected to be added to the federal pipeline in the coming weeks.
Called the ‘Sindh Compulsory Marriage Act, 2021’, the proposed regulation recommends fines for parents who fail to marry their children off after they come of age, 18 years.
According to the Act, in case of delayed marriage, parents will be obligated to inform the Deputy Commissioner in writing, giving a comprehensive explanation for the same.
If the reasoning indicates grounds for a fine, the bill states that the parents should deposit a fixed amount (which will be revealed after the Act is passed) into the official bank account of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office.
Referring to the bill, Syed Abdul Rashid said, “The only solution to stop the growing rape crimes in the society is to get married according to the exact Islamic laws. Parents should ensure their children get married on time. Don’t delay; the government should cooperate with the parents in this regard,” he added.
Rashid urged people to make marriage easy by avoiding the curse of dowry, adding that the government should ban all informal activities taking place in marriage and the government should establish a code of conduct for marriages.
In Pakistan, child marriage and women empowerment have been controversial topics because of Islamists’ rigid position on jurisprudential matters. Recently, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) said that a “better way” to tackle the prevalent practice of child marriages is to start an awareness campaign among the masses instead of passing legislation.
A CII spokesperson said that the council in its 212th meeting had discussed the matter in detail and had arrived at the conclusion that “legislation against child marriage and setting an age limit will lead to many complications”.
The CII’s proposal allowing a man to ‘lightly beat’ his wife– if she defies the husband among a number of other reasons– back in 2016 had attracted severe criticism. The proposal came as part of CII’s own women protection bill, after it rejected Punjab province’s controversial Protection of Women against Violence Act, branding it un-Islamic.