Dolls amidst the obstacle, again

By Sanabil Tanweer

In the month of April, Pakistan’s Senate passed a bill to end child marriage by proposing to legalise the age of getting married to be no younger than 18 years old, along with a fine of rupees 100,000 and imprisonment of up to three years or both to all those men who fail to abide by it.

Unfortunately, the bill was strongly opposed by the parliamentarians as they considered it against the Sharia, hence the bill is left to be consulted and reviewed by the council of Islamic Ideology for its re-submission to the National Assembly.

According to a report presented by UNICEF, 21% of girls in Pakistan are married before the age of 18, while other 3% are married before they turn 15. This makes Pakistan the 6th highest in the world to have child brides.

Another report states, that every 20 second, one Pakistani woman dies during childbirth due to young age.

Keeping these statistics in sight, the lawmaking bodies should consider the fact that Pakistan by making this law is not promoting any new or western values because other Muslim countries like Bangladesh, Turkey, Morocco, Oman, Algeria, UAE and KSA have already declared 18 years as the minimum age of marriage.

Furthermore the legalisation of this law could specially save the innocent lives of those girls who are poor and are living in rural areas and due to the vulnerability of their situation are forced to become the victims to rituals like Vani (marrying off a girl as a punishment or to resolve debts or family and property disputes) and Watta Satta (bride exchange).

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I sincerely hope that this bill shall pass soon and as per the consonant of Islamic values and teachings. And once implemented is strictly monitored to be respected by the lower class ( as they are most likely to wed their daughters off ) and inhabitants of the  rural areas of Pakistan, to save those girls who are under the age of 18 from any further exploitation made in the name of traditions and values.