Islamabad :The Senate’s Committee on Interior and Narcotics on Monday approved The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2017.
The Bill was opposed by Senator Chaudhry Tanvir Khan and Muhammad Javed Abbasi of the PML-N, however, was supported by the majority of the members–Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Saif, Senator Shibli Faraz and Senator Col (R) Tahir Mashahdi. After voting on the Bill, Senator A Rehman Malik, Chairman of the Committee, declared The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2017, approved from the Senate Standing Committee on Interior.
The Senate committee held its meeting on Monday with the chair of its Chairman, Senator Abdul Rehman Malik, and was attended by Senator Tahir Hussin Mashhadi, Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi, Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Saif, Senator Shibli Faraz and Senator Chaudhry Tanvir Khan as members and Senator Rubina Khalid and Senator Seher Kamran as movers. Interior secretary, Ministry of Religious Affairs’ director general, Council of Islamic Ideology’s secretary, Nadra chairman and number of officials from the ministries of Interior, Religious Affairs, Law Division, renowned scholars and representatives of civil society and human rights organisations also attended the meeting.
Besides passing the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2017 and the Prevention of Witchcraft Bill 2017, the Senates Committee on Interior had also passed ‘The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2017.
In his remarks on ‘The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2017, Committee Chairman Senator Rehman Malik said that Islam has not specified any age for marriage of girls and has made it conditional to puberty and puberty implies powerful presence of mind and intelligence, level of acceptance of the responsibility of motherhood and parenting and fitness in social behavior.
He said that international organizations, including UNO and OIC, have demanded of the Government of Pakistan to enhance the marriage age for girls age from 16 to 18 and Pakistan being signatory is bound to enhance that age.
For expert opinion on the Bill, renowned scholar Prof Dr Muhammad Munir from Islamic International University, Children Rights activists Anbreen Ajaib, Valerie Khan, Meena Gabeena and Syed Safdar Raza were invited who apprised the meeting on the importance of enhancing the marriage age for girls from 16 to 18.
The senator chairman appreciated their presence and valuable opinion on the issue.
The committee also discussed in detail “The Prevention of Witchcraft Bill 2017″ and “The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2017” moved by Senator Chaudhry Tanvir Khan which were approved unanimously. In his remarks on the Bill, Senator Rehman Malik said that it is the first law coming to prevent witchcraft for which he appreciates the mover. He said poor, oppressed and helpless people are being befooled and looted by magicians, and they are freely advertising about their dirty practices even in national daily newspapers. “These magicians are not only looting people’s money but also damaging their social lives,” he added.
He said that due to absence of the punishment for such malicious activities, increase in crimes is increasing by each day. However, Senator Rehman Malik asked the mover that the word Astana may be redefined as the word Astana is being used by Sufis of the country.
“The Criminal Laws (Amendment) (Protection of Rights of Transgender Persons) Bill 2017 moved by Senator Rubina Khalid was discussed and a subcommittee was formed on the Bill for further elaboration.
The subcommittee will be led by Senator Muhammad Ali Saif with its members Senator Tahir Mashahdi and Senator Shibli Faraz in consultation The Senate’s Committee on Interior paid rich tribute to Capt Hassnain and three other FC soldiers who had been martyred in a blast in Kurram Agency.
Senate’s committee chairman said Capt Hasnain Nawaz Shaheed and all martyrs are hero of the whole nation and the nation is proud of their sacrifices. The committee prayed for their departed souls and expressed condolences with bereaved families of martyrs.
Senator Rehman Malik, in his opening remarks, said that the government needs to place budgetary provisions for the welfare, education and shelter of/for the children and families of our martyrs.