Islamabad: A draft bill to ban child marriages termed “blasphemous” by religious body

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Child marriages in Pakistan

A draft bill regarding ban on child marriages meets failure as it has been turned down after being pronounced “blasphemous” by the Islamic Ideology Council.

According to details, the PML-N leader Marvi Memon who is one of the most high-profile politicians moved a draft bill in order to curb the child marriages. The draft bill was turned down because the Islamic Ideology Council termed it “blasphemous.” Marvi Memon introduced the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill so that the legal minimum age of marriage is raised to 18; along with prescribing legal penalties for those found guilty of arranging child marriages.

Currently, the legal minimum age for females to get married is 16; however under the Islamic Shariah girls as old as 9 years can marry on the conditions they start showing signs of puberty.

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Owing to the fact that the Islamic Ideology Council has been vested with powers to veto all proposed legislation in the parliament of Pakistan to determine if it complies with Shariah. The Islamic Ideology Council termed this draft bill not only “anti-Islamic” but also “blasphemous”. As a result of this, the government immediately withdrew the draft bill.

Despite having a higher literacy rate, Pakistan, is behind India when it comes to the human rights abuse by child marriages. At a global perspective, the phenomenon of child marriages is highest in Africa. The most severe offenders are the Muslim nations. The countries where the highest proportions of women are married by 17 are all predominantly Muslim, except the Central African Republic, which is 15 per cent Muslim.