QUETTA: Despite being submitted to the cabinet for approval, the draft of the child marriage bill has been pending before the Balochistan Assembly for the last eight years, a legislator told a consultation meeting on the issue of child marriage.

Dr Shama Ishaq, a politician from the National Party, said that this was due to hurdles created by certain quarters.

The consultation, held in collaboration with the Education Youth Empowerment Society, Blue Veins, and Girls Not Brides, decided that a committee comprising all stakeholders would be formed to initiate dialogue with the heads of political parties on the issue of child marriage and reach consensus on the age limit.

The session was presided over by Balochistan’s Parliamentary Secretary on Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Science & Technology Dr Rubaba Khan Buledi.

Stakeholders resolve to form committee for consensus on age limit for marriage

The participants expressed serious concern over the negative attitude of religious parties and some other quarters regarding the child marriage bill.

Female legislators said that while women MPAs made all possible efforts to reach consensus on the age limit and persuaded the male MPAs to support the child marriage bill, they faced strong opposition from the religious parties’ legislators on the issue of the age limit.

Dr Buledi and Parliamentary Secretary on Women’s Development Mahjabeen Sheeran informed the meeting that the bill was sent to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) twice for its opinion on the age limit issue. The CII chairman had sent his recommendations, but once again these were sent to the council for review.

Commission on the Status of Women Balochistan Chairperson Fauzia Shaheen and Dr Buledi suggested that a special committee should be set up which would hold meetings with the political party’s heads and get approval from them for consensus on the age limit for child marriage.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2022

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