Recently, the Senate Standing Committee on Interior on 11th October rejected ‘The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2017’ and called it unislamic. The chairman of the committee Rehman Malik announced that he had discussed with the religious scholars that girls could be married before they are 18 according to Islamic law and such kinds of bill could not be passed. 

Undoubtedly, Pakistan is a country where child marriage is the most prevalent, particularly involving young female brides. It’s estimated that some 20 percent of girls in the country are married before they turn 18. 

These girls drop out of school, face fatal health complications from early pregnancy and childbearing, and are exposed to STDs including HIV. 

Pakistan is deemed as one of the graves of child brides and considering the bill unislamic raises many questions. 

First, undoubtedly, Islam is a religion where everything is checked and balanced . If that Islam which says to educate everybody then which Islam tells us to marry the under-aged children? 

Second, if it is allowed then voting right, which is compulsory for everyone in our country aged 18 and above, should be granted to those children of ages 12 or 16 whom people think should be married. 

Unfortunately, forcing a young girl to skip her beautiful childhood or girlhood to become an adult mother is a crime itself. I suppose the best way is to pass a law that one has to have a certificate that the girl is ready to be married issued by psychologists and doctors who would keep these things in mind. It should also include zero tolerance and strict punishments for all those who attended the wedding and the mullah who performed nikkah against permission of the state. 

The count of child brides is expected to reach from 700 million today to 950 million by 2030. Every individual and society must help reduce this plague. 

ZEESHAN NASIR,  

Turbat, October 15.