Early age marriages, a menace in Balochistan- By Bari Sherani - Eye News Network

Early age marriages, a menace in Balochistan- By Bari Sherani


Balochistan is deprived province of Pakistan and it has inactive administration with bad governance, less-aware masses, and dynastic and lord-type of controlled political culture and backwardness.  The strong tribal system, followed by culture customs and religious leader’s domination the major portion of population is illiterate, poor, backward, and absence of laws and its implementation has complemented the miseries.

The early child /forced marriages practices are common. Girls from poor households are more likely to be married as children. The women and girls have no say in decision making and their guardians decides about their fate. The people from rural areas are unaware of child marriage and its effects. Being forced into marriage before one is able to give consent violates the basic human rights of boys and girls. Each day boys and girls become child groom & bride and each year hundreds and thousands of girls in Baluchistan who have married before their eighteenth birthday. In particular, girls from the poorest quintile are three times more likely to be married as children than girls from the richest quintile. In rural areas of province each third marriage is child or forced marriage but unfortunately not reported. The young girls and women around the province are pushed for child /forced marriages.

The Maternal deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth are an important component of mortality of girls aged 15-19. 18% of Pakistani girls have had their first birth by age 18; the 9% have begun child bearing between 15-19 years and 7% are already mothers in those ages (And in Pakistan the situation of Baluchistan province is more alarming being lagging behind and under-privilege province in Pakistan).

The reasons behind the early child /forced marriages are gender inequalities, dowery practices poverty, strong customs, traditional values, social security, less awareness, illiteracy bride price and fear of child remaining unmarried in adulthood. The child /forced marriages shakes  the strong family structure it defaces community image at national level and it hindrances the development in society as well as the physical, social and emotional consequences of child marriages are multiple and severe, ranging from lack of access to education, leading to limited literacy and employment opportunities, exposure to unprotected sexual relations, pregnancy and child birth before being physically or psychologically ready, and high rates of female poverty. Child Marriage is often associated with multiple health risks. This is because young brides have limited access to, and use of contraception and reproductive health services and information. The majority are exposed to early and frequent sexual relations and to repeated pregnancies and childbirth before they are physically mature and psychologically ready. Furthermore, it is a harmful practice that deprives girls of their dignity and human rights. In Pakistan, legally Child Marriages are prohibited under the Child Marriages Restraint Act, 1929 (CMRA) So for in Balochistan province the CMRA is 1929 and no policy formulated and amended CMRA so for after the 18th amendment the provinces are responsible for their own legislation and the legislation matter/subject decentralized the power of legislation shifted from federal to provinces. In Balochistan province Early/Child and Forced Marriages nevertheless remain in the centre of the debate at policy, legislation, reforms, community and action level and this issue legging behind in all aspect at Baluchistan province Although CMRA makes child marriages illegal, the punishment under this law act is minimal. A conviction under this law does not serve to nullify the child/forced marriage in Baluchistan. The menace of early child /forced marriages can be end. Through initiatives and collective voices with the support of civil society organizations, youth, girls, women, religious clerics, lawyers and media to revise the CMRA in Balochistan and make it more punitive. furthermore early/child and forced marriages practices are very high to resolve tribal and community level to resolve their disputes, these local practices call Alternate Dispute Resolution (Jirga and Panchayat). Forced Marriages also continue in very high number particularly most vulnerable communities are non-Muslims, the non-Muslims girls are forcefully converting their religion and here the law is silent and no actions taken by the state authorities to stop forcedly marriages of non-Muslims girls. To protect the women and girls’ rights ensuring the safety, healthy community, dignity and honour some impressive initiatives are needed. Developing provincial strategy and action plan is mandatory as well as task forces and cell made to response in early times and so far, improve the reporting mechanism, coordination and collaboration of referral mechanism of early/child and forced marriages victims/survival providing legal aid, shelter, counselling, FIR chalking, legal safety and Medco legal aid. Further make obligatory nikah registration and presenting of national identity card at time of nikah.

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