Call to raise minimum age of marriage to 18 years

Call to raise minimum age of marriage to 18 years

PINDIGHEB, MAY 26 /DNA/ – The participants of the training session organized by PODA organization, held at the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) office in Pindigheb, unanimously supported the legal amendment to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 years in the Punjab Child Marriage Restraint Act 2015.

Nikah khawans and nikah registrars representing ten union councils attended the one-day training held in the TMA Pindigheb hall. They emphasized the need to introduce the required amendment at the earliest to safeguard the fundamental rights of young girls, enabling them to benefit from Article 25-A of the Constitution, which obligates the state to ensure the education of children from 5 to 16 years of age. The training aimed to strengthen the role of nikah khawans and registrars in stopping child marriages. The activity was part of the project “Reduce Early Marriages to Enhance Gender Equality,” funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Islamabad.

The participants also demanded a review of the existing nikah nama to accommodate current requirements and called for consultative sessions to gather practical and relevant recommendations.

The Project Manager, Nabeela Aslam, said that to protect girls’ constitutional rights to lead dignified lives as citizens of Pakistan, PODA is engaging with all segments of society to amplify the demand to increase the minimum age of marriage for girls. For this purpose, government officials of the relevant departments, members of the legal fraternity, media persons, mothers, daughters, community leaders, health workers, teachers, girls, role model women, religious scholars, and staff of basic health units across Punjab have been engaged through a wide range of activities to reduce early marriages in 41 districts of Punjab.

Addressing the gathering, the President of the Pindigheb Bar Association, Faisal Shehzad, urged the participants to ensure their effective role in ending child marriages. The participants noted that although there has been a decrease in child marriages, however the practice still exists, particularly among the weaker segments of society.

The focal person for all union councils of Tehsil Pindigheb, Naveed Abbas, elaborated on the actions taken by the union councils under his supervision, including the mandatory registration of marriages within three days.

The training was facilitated by the office of the Assistant Commissioner, Tehsil Pindigheb, Noor Zaman, and his staff. Around 30 people participated, including nikah khawans, registrars, lawyers, TMA staff, and media persons.

Khawaja Zahid Nasim, Advocate, and Hifza Bukhari, former Finance Secretary of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, led sessions of the training and engaged with participants to play their roles effectively in reducing early marriages. The participants received certificates for completing the training.