RAHIM YAR KHAN-The police thwarted a child marriage attempt and arrested four persons including the child bride and groom in Basti Golay Di Goth, situated in UC Kot Sanjar Khan near Kot Sabzal in Tehsil Sadiqabad, some 53km from here. The marriage attempt was made Monday night but timely action by the Kot Sabzal Police foiled the marriage.

According to police and local sources, Khair Muhammad Abbasi, resident of Basti Golay Di Goth, UC Kot Sanjar Khan was marrying off his 11-year-old daughter Shameeran Mia to six-year-old Ghous Bakhsh, Imam Baksh Abbasi and the Nikkah registrar was also present there.

The Kot Sabzal Plice, acting swiftly on a tip-off, raided the house of Khair Muhammad Abbasi and stopped the marriage, being conducted in a clear violation of Section 6 Punjab Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act 2015 and 342 PPC. The police arrested Khair Muhammad, Imam Bakhsh, Shameeran and Ghous Bakhsh while nikkah registrar and participants of the marriage procession succeeded in fleeing the scene. The police registered an FIR 328/18 against the accused. Later, the police released the bride and groom after recording their statements.

Senior social activist and advocate of child rights Farhan Aamir told The Nation that in the rural areas on Punjab and Sindh border, people are almost ignorant of the child marriage laws. He informed that the people normally follow tribal and clan norms and later face their repercussions.

He stressed that the government should launch an awareness campaign in deprived and backward rural areas to teach the poor illiterate people basic rights, especially the child rights. He pointed out that the new government has many challenges and implementation of child marriage laws is only these big challenges.

He asserted that under marriages make the youngsters older in a young age because family responsibilities in a tender age burden them more than their capacity. He said that females are giving birth to abnormal babies due to early age marriages besides other serious health complications. When contacted Punjab Commission for Women and Child Rights helpline 1043 for this matter, no one attended the calls despite repeated attempts. When contacted PTI MPA Asif Majeed said that the district police had informed him about the issue and the government would take action as per law and Shariah.

He said that whosoever violates the law, would be get punished and no one is above the law. He said that in next assembly session, he would take up the issue, promising that if there is any need for amendment to the child marriage laws he would made efforts for it as well. To a question, the MPA said that awareness about law is good thing but being a human common sense also matters and in this modern age. He stressed that parents must pay heed to marriage of their children in proper age. He said that illiteracy and lack of education does matter but people in rural are practicing such illegal customs despite having knowledge.