Another move to ban child marriages in Pakistan has fallen at the first hurdle. The bill to prohibit underage marriages has been withdrawn after the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) declared it un-Islamic.
The ruling party lawmaker, who moved the bill, withdrew her proposal on Thursday following staunch resistance from the council, which advises the legislature whether or not a certain law is Sharia-compliant.
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The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony rejected the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2014 after the CII dubbed it ‘anti-Islamic’ and ‘blasphemous’.
The committee meeting, which was presided over by its Chairman Hafiz Abdul Karim, unanimously rejected the bill on ‘purely religious grounds’. Afterwards, PML-N’s Marvi Memon also withdrew her proposal.
The proposed legislation had recommended harsher punishments for those entering conjugal contracts with minors.
Last week, lawmakers in the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly had also blocked a bill seeking ban on child marriages over similar concerns.
Of child marriages and medieval mindsets
The CII has already ruled the minimum age stipulated for marriage in the Child Marriages Restriction Act of 1929 does not comply with Islamic laws.
In May 2014, amid severe criticism from various quarters, the council had endorsed its earlier ruling that girls as young as nine years old were eligible to be married “if the signs of puberty are visible”.
full story at The ExpressTribune