Punjab Minister Women Development Ashifa Riaz has said that the provincial government is highly committed to empower girls with information, skills and support networks to end the early age marriages because the combination of education and girls’ empowerment programmes have been the most successful way to bring down child marriage rates.

Addressing a consultative session regarding early age marriages organized by UNFP at Women Development Secretariat here on Friday, she said that education is being given to parents and community members in remote areas by the Literacy, Population mobilizers and other stakeholders. She said Agriculture Department is facilitating and financing to young married female farmers to strengthen them economically in dairy farming and other agricultural sectors. 

Ashifa Riaz said, "Ending child marriage requires more work across all sectors and at all levels. It is needed to raise awareness of the harmful impact of child marriage by encouraging open, inclusive and informed discussion at the community, local, national and international level to end child marriages."

"Our main focus is on strengthening, implementing and resourcing laws and policies which prevent child marriage is an important step towards recognizing and upholding girls’ rights. Religious and traditional leaders, too, have the potential to play a key role in speaking out against child marriage and changing community attitudes, "the provincial minister stated further. 

"Messages that promote new norms, role models and positive deviants show positive signs of being an effective way to change attitudes and behaviours around the value of girls and women", Ashifa emphasized.

Secretary Women Development Ambreen Raza, Director Sajeela Naveed, concerned officers of WDD and the representatives of UNFPA attended the meeting.