Pakistani politician proposes law making marriage mandatory at age 18

A Pakistani politician has today put forward a draft law which would make marriage compulsory for people aged 18 and impose fines on parents who do not obey.

Syed Abdul Rasheed, a candidate of the far-right political alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) – translated as ‘United Council of Action’, proposed the regulation at the Sindh Provincial Assembly on Wednesday.

The bill, called The Sindh Compulsory Marriage Act, 2021, recommends fines of Rs500 ($6.88) for parents who fail to marry their children off at the age of 18, according to Dawn.

If a marriage is delayed past this age, parents will be forced to give a ‘justified reason of delay’ to the Deputy Commissioner of the District under the proposed law.

The bill also says parents will have to deposit any fines given out into the official account for the Deputy Commissioner’s Office, ProPakistani reported.

In the southeastern province of Sindh, the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act was passed in 2014 to ban marriages for boys or girls before the age of 18 and make it a punishable offence.

Explaining his reasoning behind the draft law, Rasheed said: ‘I believe that after 18 years of age, if there is a reason [for not marrying], parents should submit an affidavit along with a commitment of the time the person would be married off.’

In a video shared after the draft law was submitted, Rasheed reportedly claimed the law would control the ‘rise’ of ‘societal ills, child rapes, immoral activities and crime’.

He added: ‘According to the shariat of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Islamic teachings, Muslim males and females have been given the right to marry after attaining puberty or after 18 years of age and fulfilling this is the responsibility of their guardians, especially their parents.’

Rasheed also claimed that ‘distance from Islamic teachings’ had led to ‘obstacles’ preventing marriages, including unemployment and high costs.

The politician, who has been a member of the Sindh Assembly since August 2018, also called on the Government to ban dowry, which he claimed would make the process of marriage easier.

Rasheed, who stands for a political alliance of far-right, conservative, religious and Islamist parties, said he hoped all Sindh Assembly members would approve the law for the ‘happiness and facilitation of positive pathways’ for the province’s youth.

The bill was said to have won the approval of multiple members of the Sindh Assembly, according to ProPakistani.

But other members of the Provincial Assembly told Samaa that the bill is unlikely to pass, citing the impracticality of failing to consider the financial stability of the couple.

Courtesy: Mail Online

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