This Monday, two news items came one after the other highlighting the deep divide between two people living in the same city. Sindh Assembly unanimously passed the landmark bill prohibiting the menace of child marriages. Now it will be a punishable offence in Sindh for anyone to marrying an under-18 year old girl; anyone facilitating such underage marriage will also be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment. Earlier Pakistan’s National Assembly also tried to take up same sort of bill but the hardliners and conservative members stopped even a constructive debate on the subject. We congratulate the Sindh Assembly, which has literally slapped all those, including Council of Islamic Ideology, who advocate and justify marriages of minors based on tribal and religious customs and interpretations.

Soon after this milestone achievement by the assembly, a disturbing news filled the TV screens with horror and grief. Three Madressah students were killed and many more were injured when a hand-grenade exploded in their classroom. This sad incident happened in a conservative sectarian based seminary located in a Pashtun locality in Karachi. Apparently students were playing with the hand-grenade inside the classroom when it exploded; seminary administration claimed someone has thrown the grenade inside, others claimed that children found it in a storm water drain and brought it to the seminary. There is something fishy going on and that’s why, soon after the blast, the seminary was closed for outsiders and press was told to buzz off. We all agree a place of worship should have nothing to do with weapons. But this is Sindh – Karachi of two people living together but are ideologically miles apart.


Saudi Arab, April 29.