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Forced marriages unacceptable, says Sherry

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Women Development Sherry Rehman has said the government is strongly committed to rooting out all black laws and anti-women practices from the system.

“We seek assistance from all stakeholders, including the civil society and the media, to help us bring reforms in the area of women development.” She stated this while taking strong notice of a case of

forced engagement of 15 minor girls, who have been pledged in marriage to settle a blood feud between two tribes near Kashmore. “Forced marriage of minor girls is unacceptable and the government would not allow any violation of human rights against women,” the minister said while commenting on the Kashmore Jirga news report.

“The PPP government would not allow the practice of trading women and minors at any cost,” she added. She said the Ministry of Women Development has already taken up the matter with Gender Crime Cell of the Interior Ministry. “We are pursuing the case and every effort will be made to take action against the perpetrators and provide relief to the victims.”

Sherry Rehman said the Sindh chief minister has also taken notice of the issue and asked for an immediate inquiry into the incident. Pointing to the absence of a comprehensive law against heinous practice of forced marriages, the Minister said that the Women Development Ministry is working on legislation on the issue.

“It is a blatant violation of human rights and our government will never condone the practice.” She said the Women Dev-elopment Ministry has initiated a range of reforms to broaden the scope of women’s in- volvement in social development and give them their due leverage in all level of domestic, public and professional activities.
Source: The News
Date:6/3/2008

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