Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) MPA Syed Abdul Rasheed submitted a draft of "The Sindh Compulsory Marriage Act, 2021" to the Sindh Assembly Secretariat on Wednesday which seeks to make marriage compulsory for people aged 18 years.
The draft of the proposed bill, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, stated that the parents of an adult who is not being married off after turning 18 will have to "submit an undertaking with justified reason of delay before the Deputy Commissioner of the District".
Parents who fail to submit the undertaking would have to pay a fine of Rs500 each, it added.
"This will bring well-being in the society," the objects and reasons section of the draft states.
Rasheed expressed the hope that all Sindh Assembly members — from both the treasury and opposition benches — would help in approving the bill for the "progress, happiness and facilitation of positive pathways" for the youth of the province.
In a video statement released after the submission of the proposed bill, he said that "societal ills, child rapes, immoral activities and crime" were rising in the country.
"To control all of this ... 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."
He said that obstacles in the way of marriages such as unemployment and high costs were a "result of distancing from Islamic teachings". If we follow Islamic teachings, a lot of ease and blessings will descend upon the family, he added.
Listing the steps the government could take to make the process of marriage easier, he said there should be a ban on dowry and standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding marriage ceremonies should be added to the bill which he said would "end competition and lead to people adopting simplicity".
Addressing the "obstacle of unemployment", he said the problem was that "society's tendency towards competition had spoiled a lot of legal and correct ways".
"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," he added.