LAHORE - Parliamentarians and civil society representatives demanded an autonomous child protection body and equal age of marriage for boys and girls.

This demand was made at a dialogue organised by Bedari to discuss issues related to child marriage in context of 16 days of activism VOW. Legislators Sumbal Malik (PML-N), Bushra Butt (PML-N), Khadija Farooqi (PML-Q) and MPA Ayesha Iqbal (PTI) said that a bill to raise the marriage age had been presented in the provincial assembly and they would support it irrespective of their party affiliation.

Chairman of Alhamra Arts Council Tauqeer Nasir said, “We should provide quality education to girls.”  Human rights activist I.A. Rehman said the state should fulfill its responsibility and provide equal rights to girls. Member of the Council of Islamic Ideology Raghib Naeemi suggested campaigning against child marriages through clerics would be beneficial. Executive Director of Bedari Anbreen Ajaib said the NGO focused on social transformation around gender roles and attitudes.