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July 11, 2020

MPs support increasing marriage age for girls

Lahore

July 11, 2020

LAHORE:A number of parliamentarians from two major political parties resolved to support increasing the minimum age of marriage for girls in Punjab from 16 to 18 years.

A relevant amendment act is pending in the Punjab Assembly whereas the Sindh province took the lead and approved amendment legislation back on 28 February, 2013. A leading youth development organisation, held a webinar on “ending child marriage in Punjab” in which panellists included MNA Romina Khurshid Alam and members of provincial Assembly (MPAs) Sadia Sohail Rana, Sumaira Bukhari, Bushra Anjum Butt, Raheela Khadim Hussain and Muneebul Haq. MPA Sadia Sohail Rana said that the government was determined to pursue this progressive legislation and it’s only a matter of time that the Punjab government would set minimum age of marriage for girls at 18 years.

In Pakistan, pregnancy and childbirth related complications are the main causes of death for mothers aged 15 to 19. Maternal mortality for females under age 20 is 242 deaths for every 100,000 births; 116 children under one year of age die for 1,000 births by women under age 20 (PDHS 2006-7) versus 75 per 1,000 for the children of women who give birth between the ages of 20 to 29.

MNA Romina Khurshid Alam appreciated the role of Bargad in formulating the youth policies with all four provincial governments and stressed on the role of the policy in curbing child marriage. MPAs Sumaira Bukhari and Bushra Anjum Butt suggested increasing the role of local bodies in the implementation of law as Union Councils have a direct interaction with the community.

MPA Raheela Khadim said around 21 percent of girls married before the age of 18 years and 3% before the age of 15 years in Pakistan. She suggested mobilising the clergy to help in creating awareness about the negative impacts of child marriage on woman’s health.

MPA Muneebul Haq assured of supporting this legislation in the Assembly and assured that he would do whatever was required for this amendment. Many students from different universities also joined the webinar.