ISLAMABAD: Parliamentarians from all the four provinces on Thursday gave a full assurance to bring legislative reforms in Child Marriage Law to prevent early marriages.
Zia Ullah Bangash, MPA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Samina Khan, MPA, Balochistan; Mehtab Akbar Rashdi, MPA, Sindh; Irum Farooki, MPA, Sindh and Sadia Sohail, MPA, Punjab expressed their commitment and assurance to fully support the legislation at national level meeting organised by Rahnuma-FPAP and Plan International Pakistan.
During the meeting, updates on draft bills tabled in the provincial assemblies of Sindh and Punjab on Child Marriage were discussed. International Plan Pakistan has launched a project on child marriage in three districts of the Punjab province in partnership with Rahnuma FPAP with the financial support of Swedish Postcode Lottery, through Plan Sweden National Office.
Country Gender Advisor Sofia Naveed from Plan International Pakistan said that the harmful practice of child marriage leads to girls being left behind in realising their rights. Pakistan is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and CEDAW. Both these conventions ask the state to do appropriate legislation to end all kinds of discriminations, violence and abuse against women and girls. The proposed amendments will be a step forward in realising the rights of the girl child in Pakistan, she added.
Mehtab Akbar Rashdi said that the Child Marriages Restraint Act, 1929 is insufficient, discriminatory and completely ineffective. The punishment for violating this law is fine of Rs.1000 or one month imprisonment. There has never been a conviction under this law. After the 18th Constitutional Amendment, this issue has become a provincial subject. Sindh is leading in this regard as a comprehensive law has already been approved by the chief minister and waiting in the assembly for passing.