KARACHI: Sindh Minister for Women Development Rubina Qaimkhani on Tuesday invited activists to join the public awareness campaign launched by the government to sensitise masses about relevance of Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act 2013 for them as well as their children.
Addressing a seminar on Child Marriage Agenda, organised by Women Development Department in coordination with UNICEF, she said the law adopted unanimously by the Provincial Assembly on April 28 last year is in process of meaningful implementation. “We seek active involvement of all stakeholders and with a motive to directly approach the most affected segment are launching first leg of our public awareness campaign in Tharparkar in a week’s time,” the minister said.
“Under the Child Marriage Restraint Act, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a child and whoever performs, conducts, directs, brings about or in any way facilitate any child marriage shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment, up to three years, and also liable to fine,” the minister elaborated. Rubina mentioned that Sindh has been noticed as having the highest numbers of Child Marriages, where an estimated 72% of girls get married under the age of 20.
“This practice is not an isolated custom as is prevalent throughout the country with 30% of marriages falling into this category,” she said. The minister said the law has been introduced to serve as a protective legal entity and the government is presently in the process of formulating and finalising the “rules” for its enforcement in consultation with the concerned NGOs and provincial Law Department.