By: Malik Tehseen Raza
MUZAFFARGARH: The Rohillanwali police arrested a man attempting to marry a 12-year-old girl in Jarh Ratheib near Rohillanwali on Sunday, 45km from the city.
Munir Ahmad, 35, was being married to 12-year-old Aasia. SHO Munir Chandia said he was told by a local that some people had arranged the marriage of the underage girl with Ahmad, who had recently divorced his first wife. Ahmad’s first wife was said to be Aasia’s maternal aunt. Allegedly the girl’s parents had sold her to Ahmad.
Police conducted a raid and arrested the girl, her parents as well as those of Ahmad, while he managed to flee from the scene. Police registered a case and formed teams to arrest Ahmad.
Know more: Little headway in child marriage laws
Meanwhile, a seminar was organised by Rahnuma FPAP to create awareness about ending child marriage in the district. It was attended by members of the civil society, lawyers, religious persons, media representative and politicians who discussed aspects of the Child Marriages Restraint Act (CMRA) 1929. Although CMRA declared child marriages illegal, punishment under the act was minimal.
Sheikh Abdul Basit Zaheer, a focal person, said child marriage was widely practiced and was reinforced by customs that commoditised girls. There was no law on marital rape in the country, he added. Through the proposed initiative, he said they would raise collective voices of the civil society with the support of the media across the country to revise the CMRA and make it more punitive. He said it would also be advocated to make 18 years the minimum age for marriage for both boys and girls.
He further said awareness campaigns should involve members of the National Assembly equally with provincial ministers for excessive results. The provincial authorities could be approached to crate an efficient mechanism to reduce violations in child rights.
At the end participants passed a resolution stating the government should amend CMRA 1929 and also enforce the law strictly.