National Assembly has approved the much awaited Hindu Marriage Bill 2016; this bill was tabled by Federal Minister for Human Rights Kamran Michael. During a session on Monday, September 26, the house gave a nod to the bill which will herald an all-inclusive family law for Pakistani Hindus.
The bill was hailed by the lower house and hardly met any opposition while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s MNA Lal Chand Malhi criticized that a clause in the bill which deals with the ‘Annulment of Hindu Marriage,’ could provide cushioning to ‘forced conversions’. Senator Kamran Michael was able to pacify MNA Lal Chand, claiming that the clause was misunderstood.
PML-N’s Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said: “There was no Hindu marriage law in the country for 66 years — the country’s leadership and all the political parties in the parliament have done a commendable job.”
Earlier on February 8, this year the draft of the bill was approved by National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law. Chairman Chaudhary Mehmood Bashir Virk expressed his opinion that the delay in approving the bill was as a result of few technical points in the bill.
“This is a complete bill and it relates to the lives of our fellow citizens, therefore all segments including the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) was consulted during the course of discussions, so that there are no complaints from anybody after the law is enforced,” he said.
In line with the bill, separated Hindu persons will be legally allowed to remarry. Moreover, Clause 17 of the bill cushions the Hindu widows stating that they “shall have the right to re-marry of her own will and consent after the death of her husband provided a period of six months has lapsed after the husband’s death.”