Pakistani legislators on Thursday rejected a bill aimed at increasing the minimum age of marriage for girls from 16 to 18 years, PTI reported on Friday. The lawmakers called the proposed amendment “un-Islamic”.
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Religious Affairs met on Thursday and discussed The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The committee members also discussed The National Commission for Minority Rights Act, 2015 at the request of lawmaker Lal Chand Malhi. Christian lawmaker Tariq Christopher Qaiser recommended the number of commission members be increased to give representation to all minorities. He also called for allowing members of minority communities to directly elect their representatives. The committee also constituted a sub-committee to further discuss it.
The Pakistan Senate had unanimously passed the landmark The Hindu Marriage Bill in March to regulate marriages of the Hindu minority. The bill had already been approved by the lower house or the National Assembly on September 26, 2015, and it now needs the signature of the President to become a law. The bill will help Hindu women get documentary proof of their marriage. It will be the first personal law for Pakistani Hindus, applicable in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. The country’s Sindh province has already formulated its own Hindu Marriage Law.