Karachi: Experts at a workshop on Monday called for declaring child marriages a human rights violation in Pakistan and recommended enhancing marriageable age to 20 years, for both girls and boys.
They also urged the media personnel to highlight the issues related to underage marriages and describe these as a crime and violation of basic human rights.
The media workshop on child marriages was organised by the Rahnuma—Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP) here at a local hotel.
Media persons, family planning experts, parliamentarians and government officials attended the workshop and advocated enhancing the minimum age limit for marriage.
They also supported the demand for increasing the maximum punishment for child marriages from one month of imprisonment and Rs1,000 fine under the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929, calling for introduction of more effective laws against underage marriages. Sindh Assembly Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza supported the demand that more effective laws should be enacted against domestic violence, child marriages, and other crimes against women, urging the media to play its role in creating awareness on these burning issues.
She claimed that the government had passed several legislations to protect women while several resolutions were also passed despite restrictions from some hidden hands. Social activist and former bureaucrat Mehtab Akbar Rashdi praised the Sindhi media for raising and highlighting the issues facing women in interior Sindh.
She also urged the mainstream media to follow the Sindhi press in highlighting the plight of women in the province.
Syed Kamal Shah, Chief Executive Officer of the Rahnuma-FPAP, urged all the influential segments of society, especially the media, to give proper attention to issue of child marriage, due to which both infant and maternal mortality rates were highest in Pakistan.
Source: The News