Pakistan: Sindh lawmaker proposes law making marriage compulsory for youth turning 18

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Representative Image

Sindh [Pakistan], May 26 (ANI): In a bizarre move, a Pakistani lawmaker has sought to bring a law making it compulsory for parents to wed off their children once they turn 18 years old.

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) MPA Syed Abdul Rasheed submitted a draft of "The Sindh Compulsory Marriage Act, 2021" to the Sindh Assembly Secretariat on Wednesday which seeks to make marriage compulsory for people aged 18, reported Dawn.

The draft stated that parents of an adult who is not being married off after turning 18 will have to "submit an undertaking with justified reason of delay before the Deputy Commissioner of the District", adding that those fail to submit the undertaking would pay Rs 500 each.

"This will bring well-being in the society," the objects and reasons section of the draft states.

Rasheed further expressed hope that all Sindh Assembly members would help in approving the bill for the "progress, happiness and facilitation of positive pathways" for the youth in the Sindh province.

According to Dawn, the MMA MPA said in a video statement that societal ills, child rapes, immoral activities and crime" were rising in the country, Dawn reported.

"To control all of this ... according to the shariat of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Islamic teachings, Muslim males and females have been given the right to marry after attaining puberty or after 18 years of age and fulfilling this is the responsibility of their guardians, especially their parents," he said.

"I believe that after 18 years of age, if there is a reason [for not marrying], parents should submit an affidavit along with a commitment of the time the person would be married off," he added.

Rasheed cited the "result of distancing from Islamic teachings' for obstacles in the way of marriages such as unemployment and high costs.

Child marriage is the most horrifying among the many serious poverty-related issues plaguing Pakistan. According to a recent report, the poverty rate in Pakistan has reached an alarming 31.3 per cent. One of the major concerns of the people is the marriage of their children, mainly because the underprivileged families seldom send their children to schools, reported The Nation.

The boys in these families start working from a very small age, while girls are trained for household work and married quickly, which inevitably lead to underage marriages.

An organisation named Sahil reported that a total of 119 cases of child marriages were reported in 2020, out of which 95 per cent were of girls and five per cent were of boys.

Meanwhile, experts are now concerned that in near future, the situation might aggravate in the country, as the government has announced a complete lockdown in 20 cities of Punjab in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Activists have urged the government to take major steps to tackle the issue, including harsh punishments. (ANI)

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