LAHORE: Speakers stressed the need for abolishing child marriage practice and demanded the government to form a law against this crime.
Addressing a provincial conference on demanding law to eliminate child marriage at a local hotel on Thursday, they held the government must step forward to secure child rights in the country.
Bedari, a national level NGO working for protection of women and girls’ human rights organised the conference in collaboration with UNFPA and AACM.
Minister for Population Welfare Department (Punjab) Begum Zakia Shahnawaz was the chief guest. IA Rehman was the guest of honour, while Mehnaz Rafi, Hafiz Akram, Tanver Jahan and Saleem Malik (Executive Director Bedari) were amongst the prominent speakers.
“The government must ensure child rights protection and should declare severe punishment for the culprits of child marriages including the parents of bride and groom, the Nikah Khwan, and the Nikah Registrar,” speakers stressed.
It was the common stand of the speakers that along with bringing any changes in the law to prevent child marriages, society as a whole should be made aware.
They said the child marriages are violation of the International Convention that had been signed by Pakistan, despite it 40 per cent of Pakistani girls are married before 18 years of age.
The speakers pointed out that poverty and harmful cultural practices force parents to get their minor daughters married without caring that it could ruin their lives.
Earlier, Bedari Executive Director Salim Malik welcomed the guests and stressed the need for a comprehensive legislation banning child marriages, in Punjab and all over the country.
He said the law on child marriages should set 18 years as age limit and national ID card a must for both boys and girls as per international commitments and need of the hour.