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Pakistan Is Set To Raise Marriageable Age To 18 To Combat Child Marriages

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In a much needed and welcome move, the Senate Committee on Human Rights approved a draft bill that is set to have the minimum age for marriage for girls raised to 18.

According to the International Center for Research on Women, One third of girls in the developing world are married before the age of 18 and 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15.

Senator Sherry Rehman presented an amendment to the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929. Currently, the minimum marriageable age for girls is set at 16, but the amendment aims to raise it to 18, and it seems like the amendment will be approved soon.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has also shown green signal to the amendment. Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said the government has no objections to raising the minimum marriageable age.

According to UNICEF, the percentage of females marriage before the age of 18 was 21 in 2018. (Photo: Dukhtar The Film)

Rehman said that the bill has been sent to cabinet for approval and will be presented before the parliament for a final approval in February.

Here are the reactions from Social Media

Sherry Rehman herself said she was happy that all members of the committee were on the same page and said ‘yes’ to the amendment.

‘Efforts of civil society, activists, lawmakers, and the United Nations are finally coming to fruition.’

‘We stand for a cause, for a better future of our girls, for a better Pakistan.’

‘This is absolutely necessary. Well done Sherry Rehman.’

Though this is a major step towards combating child marriages, but the most important and decisive, and also the hardest part, would be enforcing it and educating the masses. 

Like several other progressive laws regulating affairs of the family, this could also just stay in the books until and unless state institutions act upon it and enforce it.

Actions are needed.

Let’s hope that this bill won’t be mere words, but actions because this is about the future and happiness of Pakistan’s many children.

Our best wishes are with Sherry Rehman and

the state institutions.

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