PESHAWAR: Women Members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly presented a resolution asking to increase the legal age of marriage to 18 years to end violence against girls that result from child marriages in Pakistan.

The resolution that was moved by MPAs of different political parties – Ayesha Bano, Nighat Orakzai, Sumaira Shams, Maliha Ali, Aisha Naeem, Madiha Nisar and Shagufta Malik – passed unanimously by the house on Tuesday.

The resolution said that the house acknowledges its obligations to support and enact legislation in the light of Pakistan’s international and regional human rights-based obligations. The resolution condemned all laws and acts of injustice, discrimination and violence against girls that result from child marriages in Pakistan.

Furthermore, said the resolution, the constitution of Pakistan guarantees empowerment and protection of women: Therefore, this house should call upon the government to repeal the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 and ensure harsher punishments to perpetrators of early age marriages of girls.

The resolution asked for further strengthening the implementation systems and mechanisms to raise the legal age of girls marriages to 18 years. It also asked the government to ensure budgetary allocation for effective implementation to end discrimination, which is in clear violation of the constitutional guarantees.

The resolution was tabled in provincial assembly after Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council proposes to increase the legal age of marriage to 18 years. Civil society organizations and human right activists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have appreciated the step of the Saudi’s Shura Council, making it illegal for girls under 15 years to get married.

According to a UNICEF report, 3 percent of girls in Pakistan are married before they turn 15 and 21 percent before the age of 18.  The social activists have asked the government to ensure laws and policies. They have asked to raise the minimum age of marriage, which they believe is crucial in eradicating the harmful practice and effects of child marriage.

Courtesy: TNN