KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Monday passed the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Bill 2013 prohibiting marriage of children below 18 years.

The assembly is the first provincial legislature in the country to approve a bill to curb child marriages.

Under the bill, the minimum for marriage is 18 years. Those found violating the law would be punished in line with the penalty suggested in the legislation.

According to the law, in cases of underage marriages, those involved can be sentenced to three years in prison and they can also be fined.

The bill was first presented in the assembly in 2013 by Sharmila Farooqi and Rubina Qaimkhani.

The passage of the bill comes on the heel's of controversy that was ignited after the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) had ruled in March that prohibition of under-age marriage was un-Islamic.

The CII had ruled that children of any age could get married if they attain puberty.

Chairman CII Maulana Muhammad Khan Sheerani had stated that the laws related to marriage were unfair.

“The laws limiting the age for both the segments of marriage are un-Islamic and needed to be rectified,” Sheerani had said.

The Sindh Assembly in response rejected the ruling of the CII and passed a resolution calling for the body to be disbanded.

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