KARACHI: As the child marriage restraint bill has been approved in Sindh Assembly, the most important step now will be its implementation in the society.
This was discussed by the speakers during a seminar on Saturday organised by Rutgers-WPF to commemorate the International Mother’s Day. At the seminar, MPA Sharmila Faruqi said that the bill prohibits the marriage of children below the age of 18 and the perpetrators found guilty of violating the bill can be fined upto Rs45,000 and jailed for two years.
“Now the most important step is to implement this bill and people from the civil society need to inform the police whenever they see a violation of the bill,” she said. Faruqi also said that child marriages violate a young girls’ right to education and substantially reduce their economic opportunities. “These girls are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse since they lack decision-making and negotiating
During the event, Karachi commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui launched the ‘Dikho-Bolo-Roko’ campaign, which will aim to eliminate early marriages in the country.
Religious scholar, Mohsin Naqvi also highlighted the implications of early marriages and its negative impact on a family and society at large. “The biggest problem the child marriage restraint bill faces is from the religious sector,” he admitted. “A marriage is about nurturing the family rather than being a tragedy.”
Justice (retd) Shaiq Usmani, who first drafted the child marriage bill, said the marriage contract is a legal document, which requires both the parties to be mature and to understand the responsibilities of each individual. Praising the efforts of politicians, media, and the civil society Rutgers WPF Country Representative Qadeer Baig said, “When we celebrate Mother’s Day in Pakistan, we commemorate safe motherhood.”