Child marriage

Regulation against child marriage and setting an age limit will lead to many obstacles. The Council of Islamic Ideology desired starting awareness against child marriages in place of passing legislation against the practice. CII spokesman, the supreme religious body discussed the subject in detail in its 212th meeting and arrived at the outcome that the legislation against child marriage and setting an age limit will lead to many hurdles. The CII’s suggestions comes days after the Senate passed the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2018 which suggests that the minimum age for marriage be set at 18 years. Some of the confronting senators had debated that the bill be sent to CII before being tabled in the House. A likewise bill that was tabled in the National Assembly by a PTI Hindu lawmaker a day after the Senate passed the anti-child marriage bill faced strong rejection from members of the commanding party itself. The CII research department presented a thorough report that detailed religious scholars’ arguments against as well as in support of passing an anti-child marriage bill into law. The report also mentioned details of age limits set for marriage by 12 Muslim countries. CIl’s supreme body asserted that child marriage leads to adverse results and issues that the practice should not be encouraged. The council advised that the government should take all powerful steps erasing the basis due to which some families in Pakistan are compelled to marry off children at a young age. It may be mentioned that the CII is a statutory body with a lowest of eight and a highest of 20 members, comprising one woman, whose function is to advise parliament on whether laws are in harmony with Islamic injunctions. The council does not have any legislative power. Federal Minister for Science and Technology stated his frustration at some elected representatives and ministers’ opposition of the Child Marriage Bill, 2018 in the National Assembly. The lawmakers who objected the bill also included MNAs from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, most eminent of who was Religious Affairs Minister. The CII gave its proposal on two bills, one agreed by the Senate that fixes the age limit for marriage of a girl at 18 years, while another bill which stay undecided in the National Assembly. The Islamic Ideology group encouraged the government to address the reasons, which gave rise to the marriage of young girls. According to CII the best way to solve the practice of child marriage is to initiate consciousness battle among the large scale masses in lieu passing legislation. The CII considered on the subject in its 212th meeting, held in September last year. During the discussion on a bill, which was initially moved at that time by Senator Seher Kamran, the CII’s research department presented a thorough report. The report elaborated age limits for marriage in approximately 12 Muslim countries, as well as the view of eminent Islamic scholars for and against setting the age limit. After about three-hour discussion, the gathering agreed with the late Mufti Muhammad Shafi that the trend of young-age marriage should not be promoted. It urged earnestly the government to take firm steps to eradicate the reasons, which forced some families to marry child girls. The Senate passed a bill to the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, establishing 18 years as the age of puberty for girls. Senator Sherry Rehman introduced the bill to be passed with one voice, but it activated a furious argument over the issue. Senator Ghafoor Haidri brought an objection, stated establishing the age of 18 years for Nikah is inconsistent with the Shariah; consequently the bill may be sent to the Islamic Ideology Council for additional deliberation. Senator Mushtaq Ahmad abandoned the bill saying it oppressed Article 2-A of the Constitution as characterising 18 years for puberty is against the background Shariat. He proposed lessening the age of puberty from 18 to 15 in meeting with the IIC.
The government wants some of the problems require technical consultation. The Constitution binds Pakistan to make legislation in consonance with Islamic laws. It recommended sending the matter to the CII. Senator Raza Rabbani, in advancement of the bill, informed the house that the bill was previously sent to the CII; nevertheless it stayed undecided there for many years devoid of discussion.
Sindh Assembly had already passed the same bill which was not challenged or countered at any forum so far. The age of puberty of girls in other Islamic countries is as well 18 years. Many Muslim countries proclaimed 18 years as the age of puberty, in Algeria the age was 19, while Bangladesh, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and very same the Saudi Arabia had set 18 years as the age of puberty. Many believe that child marriage is more hazardous than nowadays terrorism. In this context it must be remembered that the authorities are trying to save innocent lives as a Pakistani woman dies each and every 20 minutes because of marriage at an early age and that the whole world legislated to safeguard the lives of their girls, but 21 percent marriages took place under the age of 18 in Pakistan. Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was the first person, who gave justice and freedom at a period when they were exploited and be buried alive.

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