Marriage: No Child’s Play

In October 2017, Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, was presented by a senior parliamentarian but Pakistan’s Standing Committee on Interior opposed the (Amendment) Bill, while declaring it contrary to the injunctions of Islam and referred it to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) for any future review. The committee expressed that it could not increase the lower age limit for marriage as it was contrary to the injunctions of Islam. Meanwhile, in Sindh child marriage, that is marriage below the age of 18 years, is a cognizable offense. Whoever performs or facilitates any child marriage will be punished with rigorous imprisonment, which is not less than three years, states the law, adding that the same punishment will be awarded to the Nikah registrar.

Progress has been made at provincial level to implement existing child marriage restraint act. The women development department reconstituted the provincial monitoring committee on child marriage under Section 24 of Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Rules, 2016. The committee would be responsible for periodically reviewing the existing provisions of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013, and suggest amendments therein.

IRC is implementing this project in Larkana and Shikarpur districts of Sindh province under More than Brides Alliance (MTBA) in collaboration with Oxfam GB, having the following objectives:

1. Young people are better informed about SRHR, including adverse effects of child marriage and empowered to voice their needs and rights

2. Increased access to formal education for girls at risk of and affected by child marriage

3. Increased utilization of SRHR services that are responsive to the needs of young people, particular girls at risk of, and affected by child marriage

4. Increased engagement and collective social action against child marriage and in support of ASRHR

Key Outcomes :

1.Along with parents arranged fourteen awareness rallies (7 In Larkana and 7 in Shikarpur) in target areas for bringing out of girls back to schools and new enrolments for school going age girls

2.Larkana team organized a ‘UC level Education Festival’ on “Importance of girls education’ in which 280 boys and girls participated

3.190 girls have been identified at high risk of child marriage from rural and low-income urban areas of Larkana, between the ages of 15 and 24.

6.Improved Health and Hygiene Practices, and Sporting Activities