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Thursday February 09, 2023

Helpline for protection of women's marriage rights

By Our Correspondent
January 25, 2023
An illustration for marriage rights awareness. — provided by the author
An illustration for marriage rights awareness. — provided by the author

LAHORE: A research organisation in collaboration with National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) Punjab, has established a toll-free helpline ‘1413’ for the protection of women’s marriage rights in Punjab.

A pilot study conducted by Musawi in this regard showed that 60 percent of marriage registrars do not consider consent of the girl in a marriage contract important. At a launching ceremony of the helpline at NCHR office here Tuesday, Rabia Javeri Agha, Chairperson of National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) said, “Nikah is a legal document which has got a religious tone”.

If a Nikah Khawan does not fill every column of the Nikahnama, action should be taken against him, said Nadeem Ashraf, Member Punjab NCHR who has approached local government to apprise them of the situation. The toll-free Helpline 1413 is housed in the NCHR Punjab office and is operational from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. The helpline will provide access to information on the Nikahnama and its clauses, legaladvice related to marriage rights as protected under the laws of Punjab, Pakistan. The helpline aims to improve access to quality legal information, advice and representation for women, especially the underprivileged and illiterate women with mobility constraints, in matters pertaining to marriage rights.

There were suggestions of allowing women to be Nikah Khawans as well. In Turkey, women can be Nikah Khawans. Another suggestion was to add to the Nikahnama that nobody has the right to beat a woman. PCSW receives most calls on its helpline for domestic violence. Registering an FIR is an uphill task. The police do that only in extreme cases of violence.

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