January 16, 2016
A move to ban child marriages in Pakistan has been withdrawn after meeting staunch resistance from a religious body, which branded the bill as “anti-Islamic”.
The ruling party politician who introduced the bill, Marvi Menon of the Pakistan Muslim League party, withdrew it after the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) dubbed the bill “blasphemous”.
The CII unanimously rejected the proposed Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2014 on “purely religious grounds”, reports The Express Tribune.
CII Chairman Mohammad Khan Sheerani said the bill contradicted Islamic teachings.
He said: “Parliament cannot create legislation that is against the teachings of the Holy Quran or Sunnah.”
The proposed legislation recommended giving out harsher punishments to those entering a marriage with a minor, as well as raising the minimum age of marriage for women to 18-years-old.
The current minimum age for marriage is 16-years-old for women, and 18-years-old for men.
This law, stipulated in the Child Marriage Restriction Act of 1929, has been ruled by the CII as non-compliant with Islamic laws.
In May 2014, the council reiterated its earlier ruling that girls as young as nine-years-old were eligible for marriage if “the signs of puberty are visible”.
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