Draft bill seeks end to forced marriages of Hindu girls

Published June 27, 2014
A Pakistani Hindu bride and groom during a mass marriage ceremony. -AFP/File Photo
A Pakistani Hindu bride and groom during a mass marriage ceremony. -AFP/File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights on Friday decided to finalise and approve a comprehensive draft regarding the Hindu Marriage Bill 2014 in its next meeting to stop forced marriages of Hindu girls with Muslim men.

According to the draft, girls belonging to the Hindu minority will not be allowed to marry below the age of 18.

The committee meeting was chaired by MNA Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk and was attended by its members and officials of the concerned Ministry of Law and Justice.

The secretary law told committee members that the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights has conducted a series of consultations with the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, the relevant federal ministries, divisions and National Commission on the Status of Women, to finalise a draft for the Hindu Marriage Bill 2014.

He said that the draft is more comprehensive and within constitutional limits while the bill is in accordance with the wishes of the Hindu community.

Virk said that the committee should also invite MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar to finalise a more comprehensive draft of the bill in this regard.

When contacted, PML-N MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar said that he had already discussed the draft of the bill with the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani. The CII chairman agreed with the contents of the draft bill in this regard, he added.

“It has been suggested in the bill that a Muslim will be unable to marry a Hindu girl within three-and-half years of separation from her husband,” he informed.

The draft bill recommends that National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) should issue computerised marriage registration certificates to Hindu couples.

Meanwhile the minimum requirements to get the certificate will be to submit copies of the CNICs of the groom, bride, and their parents.

It will also be important for Hindu couples to submit a copy of the marriage certificate issued by a pandit or Hindu Council along with a copy of the pandit’s CNIC who solemnised the marriage.

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