PESHAWAR - Speakers at a seminar titled ‘Women Rights’ have said that customary practices, poverty and lack of awareness are the root causes of the growing tendency towards arranging early marriages of girls.

The participants also stressed the need for certain amendments in the existing laws on women issues. The seminar was titled on “Dissemination of Survey Report on Early Girls’ Marriages” held under the auspices of Peace & Development Sustainable Program (PDSP), a non governmental organization in collaboration with ActionAid Pakistan. The aim of the event was to get prior recommendation and proposals for further amendments in the report conducted in four union councils of district Charsadda and Mardan.

Notable among speakers were included Shakeela Khan, Program Officer, Aurat Foundation, Yousaf Ali Shah, Chairman Philanthrope, a non governmental organization, Kiramat Shah from CRSD, political activists of different political parties, lawyers, and members of civil society organizations. ANP women MPA Musarat Shafi chaired the opening session of the seminar.

Speakers suggested various proposals and recommendations for amendments in the compiled report. On the occasion, Kiramat Shah briefed the participants about the aims and objectives of the report and pointed out different factors behind the growing early girls marriages in the aforementioned two districts of the province. He added that proper implementation of binding laws on women rights was the key to prevent illegal practices and protection of women rights in society.

Besides, Shakeela Khan highlighting the significance and background of the International Women Day adding poverty, illiteracy, poor socio-economic status and lack of awareness are the main causes behind the girls’ early marriages in the society.

She stressed the need for identifying gaps in the implementation of laws on women rights’ and urged upon the civil society organizations to play their due role for creation of awareness and sensitization amongst women regarding their rights.  

MPA Musarat said government has formed a women commission for the addressal of women issues, adding legislation for the protection of women rights have also done.