Lahore High Court Regulates Matrimony License Policy For Pakistani Christians

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There have been on going policy issues regarding matrimony licenses for Christian in Pakistan. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah from the Lahore High Court demanded the government to reconstitute within 2 months regarding policy issues surrounding the issuing of matrimony licenses for Christians.

In a petition submitted through Naveed Ashraf Rana, on January 9 2007, the government had written a policy letter demanding matrimony licenses for Christians. A matrimony licenses means any one that is performing the matrimony rituals needs to attain a licenses.

The minimum criteria for a person to obtain a license, is to have education till matriculation. A person can apply for a license for himself but a character certificate from the police chief of the district the person belongs to is needed. No such rules apply for a Muslim nikahh khwan.

The Council of Bishops of National Churches in Pakistan filed a petition against the ruling. The judge, after taking up the issue named it discriminatory.

Once a person has been issued a license, it needs to be renewed after 5 years but can only be issued to people who are less than 60 years of age. However, in 2013, a letter by the minority affairs deputy secretary relaxed the age limit till 70 years.

Petitioners who oppose this ruling have requested to make this policy illegal. The judge however said that policy guidelines will not be maneuvered but the request of the petitioners can be taken on board and policy can be altered.