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Senate Committee Rejects Bill Seeking To Set Minimum Age For Marriage At 18

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice on Wednesday rejected a bill concerned with setting the age limit for marriage at 18 years with a majority of votes. The bill was rejected after six votes were cast against it while three votes were cast in its favour.

The committee, comprising of leaders belonging to different political parties met on Wednesday to discuss the issue of setting a minimum legal age for marriage. Representatives from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) were present during the committee huddle.

During the meeting chaired by Senator Javed Abbasi, Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz termed the practice of setting the age for marriage as unIslamic.

Discussing the issue further, Ayaz said, “The 1961 law which set the minimum age for marriage at 16 was unIslamic”, while adding that it would be against the sharia if the minimum age for marriage was set at 18.

Meanwhile, another member of the committee Dr Ramesh Kumar stressed that the marriage age should be fixed at 18 years but the idea was opposed by JUI-F’s Alia Kamran. PTI’s Sanaullah Masti Khel and Malik Farooq Azam decided not to favour any unIslamic law.

On the other hand, members of the Ministry of Human Rights said, “The Senate has already approved a law which put a limit on the minimum age for marriage at 18 years.” To this, JUI-F’s Alia said that no restriction could be imposed on the age for marriage.

PPP Central Secretary Information Dr Nafeesa Shah questioned as how could 16 years be considered an Islamic age for marriage while 18 years was unIslamic.

The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice Chairman Senator Javed Abbasi said to CII chairman, “Senate has approved a bill against early marriages. Has the entire Senate apostatized now?”

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In response, Dr Ayaz said, “I am not saying that the Senate did not approve a law per Islamic teachings, but the CII will hold further deliberations over the issue in light of the standing committee’s recommendations.

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