Pakistan news: Punjab province introduces Bill to combat child marriage, raise legal age to 18 years

Pakistan news: Child Protection Welfare Bureau presents Punjab Child Marriage Restraint Bill 2024-25 to raise minimum age for girls to marry to 18, combating child marriage in Punjab.

ANI
First Published29 Apr 2024, 06:20 AM IST
Pakistan's Punjab proposes bill to raise minimum age for girl marriage to 18. (File Photo)
Pakistan’s Punjab proposes bill to raise minimum age for girl marriage to 18. (File Photo)

The Child Protection Welfare Bureau (CPWB) has put forth the Child Marriage Restraint Bill 2024-25 to the Punjab government, aiming to raise the minimum age for girls to marry to 18 years, Dawn reported.

Chairperson of CPWB, Sarah Ahmad has urged Punjab's Home Secretary, Noorul Amin Mengal, stressing the immediate need to combat the detrimental practice of child marriage. Ahmad referenced the Pakistan Demographic Health Survey 2017-18, revealing that in Punjab, 18 per cent of women aged 20 to 24 were wed before turning 18, with 2 per cent married before reaching 15.

In her capacity as both a Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) and CPWB Chairperson, Sarah Ahmad is rallying for the support of the home department to champion this vital legislative endeavour, as reported by Dawn.

The proposed Punjab Child Marriage Restraint Bill, 2024 serves as a modernised iteration of the antiquated Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929. Its primary objective is to safeguard the health, security, and overall well-being of young girls affected by child marriage within the province.

This bill is aligned with the 18th Amendment and tailored to the specific needs of Punjab. Its core aim is to safeguard the rights and welfare of children, particularly girls, ensuring their ability to flourish within a family environment devoid of discrimination and violence.

Ahmad has pressed for the expeditious tabling of the Punjab Child Marriage Restraint Bill, 2024 in the Provincial Assembly, setting a precedent for the advancement of child welfare, rights equality, and public health.

As per the bill, marriage can only be solemnised and registered upon the presentation of a computerised national identity card (CNIC). In cases where the age of either party is disputed, the court will ascertain the age through birth certificates, educational records, or other relevant documentation. If such evidence is lacking, a medical examination report will be utilised for age determination.

Furthermore, the bill proposes stringent penalties for adults entering into child marriages, facilitating such unions, or parents and guardians involved in arranging child marriages. Offenders could face rigorous imprisonment of up to two years and/or a fine of up to PRK 20,00,000.

Punjab's Home Department Secretary, Mengal, informed Dawn that the department has convened a meeting to discuss the draft law's submission. He confirmed that the proposed Child Marriage Restraint Bill 2024-25 has been forwarded to Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz and the Cabinet for consideration, Dawn reported. 

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First Published:29 Apr 2024, 06:20 AM IST
HomeNewsworldPakistan news: Punjab province introduces Bill to combat child marriage, raise legal age to 18 years

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