ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Capital Development Authority (CDA) Affairs Ali Nawaz Awan on Friday said after 15 days union councils in Islamabad, for the first time, will start registering marriages of religious minorities.
“This chronic issue has been resolved as a notification has been issued in this regard,” he said.
Talking to Dawn, Mr Awan, who is also MNA from Islamabad, said religious minorities in Islamabad had been facing issues as their marriages were not registered in union councils due to which they could not prepare family trees.
He said earlier there was no mechanism to issue marriage and divorce certificates and this issue has been creating problems particularly for the Christian community. The arbitration council under the capital administration is functioning in accordance with Muslim Family Law 1961, which only deals with arbitration and registration of Nikah and divorce of Muslims.
He said tens of thousands of people belonging to the religious minorities, mostly Christians, live in various slums, sectors and rural area of the capital and they had been facing issues related to their documentations.
“A judgment of the Supreme Court in this regard has already been implemented in other cities but not in Islamabad,” he said and added that during his election campaign he had promised with the minorities that he would resolve their issues.
“I have fulfilled my promise for registration of marriage certificates while other initiatives will also be taken for their welfare,” he said.
The notification issued by the office of the chief commissioner dated Dec 16 stated: “The competent authority has been pleased to appoint Assistant Director….ICT/Chairman of Arbitration Council to act as authorised officer from ICT administration.”
The authorised officer is supposed to “complete all the codal formalities to start registration/issuance of Christian marriage certificates on Nadra CRMS format in rural areas of ICT through Union Councils on the same analogy of Muslims marriages. Draft a fresh MoU for new design of revised proposal/procedure, contract of Christian/minorities marriage registration by Nadra to best accommodate the minorities,” it added.Last year, the issue was taken up in National Assembly jointly by Mr Awan and Shunila Ruth through a calling attention notice. The assembly referred the case to the interior ministry, which supported the calling attention notice and directed the Islamabad chief commissioner for necessary action.
Asked when the union councils would start registration of marriages of minorities, the SAPM said: “The issue is resolved. The notification has been issued and after publishing registers the UCs will start registering the marriages. I will ensure that they start the process after 15 days,” he said.In the absence of any mechanism, Christian couples were required to register their marriages with the marriage registrar appointed under the Christian Marriage Act 1872. Hence, different marriage registrars had been appointed in churches of Islamabad.
Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2020