by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Pakistan is a country in South Asia with an estimated population of 188.2 million.
Ranked as the sixth largest country by population worldwide, the level of child marriage in the country is one major problem that continues to affect many children under the age of 18.
With great connection to its traditions, culture and customary practices, it is estimated that 21 per cent of girls in Pakistan are married before reaching the age of 18, posing greater risks for those involved.
In the fight to eliminate child marriage in the country, the country adopted the Sindh Child Marriage Act in 2014, to prohibit child marriage in the country.
The bill has raised the legal age for girl to marry from 16 to 18 (same goes for males now as well).
Although the bill was seen as a way to control child marriage in the country, it was criticised by the country’s Council of Islamic Ideology, a religious committee that advises Pakistani parliament on religious laws, saying it was ‘anti-Islamic and ‘blasphemous’.
The council claimed the legislation was un-Islamic and that there was no age limit for marriage under the religious law.
Ruling party politician who introduced the bill, Marvi Menon, has withdrawn the bill after criticism made by the council.
With stronger belief in its religious laws, the council refused to accept the proposed bill saying that marriage was open to anyone.
While child marriage is an ongoing battle for many worldwide fighting to curb the issue, Pakistan refuses to accept this bill prohibiting child marriage.