Women lawmakers have joined hands for the cause of increasing the’ marriage age’ for girls in Punjab by amending the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929. The lawmakers have stood up to oppose the practice of child marriages, keeping in mind the risks and dangers that underage marriages accompany.
The proposed legislation will change the minimum age of marriage for girls from 16 years to 18. National Identity Card will also be mandatory for the marriage.
A chairperson of the Punjab Assembly Standing Committee on Gender Mainstreaming and MPA from PTI, Uzma Tahir Kardar, while speaking to a media outlet, revealed that she initially submitted the legislation a few years back as a ‘private member bill.’ However, at that time, it was not ‘tabled’ in the assembly. She then sought support from the female MPAs, including those from the opposition, to get help for this cause.
Speaking to the outlet, Kardar further added that they met ‘every member’ and explained to them the ‘seriousness of the issue.’ She received a great response from the MPAs, and about 278 legislators out of 371 members appreciated and supported the changes. They then approached Punjab’s law minister, Raja Basharat, who promised to introduce the ‘bill in the assembly’ as told by Uzma.
A PML-N MPA, Bushra Anjum Butt, who is also strongly in favor of the bill, talked about how opposing child marriages is a need and should not be politicized. She further mentioned that PML-N tried the best to change the law in their government, and now they stand with the present government for this good cause.
Uzma Kardar is optimistic that these amendments will become law in the coming months after being approved by the Punjab Assembly. She mentioned that underage marriage would be an ‘uncompoundable and non-bailable offense’ according to their changes. However, she has agreed that it will be difficult to cancel such marriages due to religious and cultural complications; therefore, such marriages must be opposed in the first place to avoid problems.
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