Women Day: Early age marriages snatch childhood from persons, implementation of law crucial yet, Awan/Lala

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KARACHI (ENNS) Child marriage is a serious issue in Pakistan, badly affecting our society, says President of Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) Zia Ahmed Awan, talking in a program.

He said early marriages mean snatching childhood from children which is injustice. He said there are comprehensive laws in Pakistan against child marriages and forced marriages; however, these laws are not being properly implemented. Awan told as per law consent of marriage before attaining the age of 18 years is not allowed in law. He said marrying a girl who is below 18 years of age may fall in category of rape.
He said early marriages snatch the memorable days of childhood from young people and instead of giving focus to their education, physical buildup and career, they suddenly become burdened with heavy responsibilities of parenthood.
Zia Awan said forced child marriage is a crime, especially in our province Sindh and also in Balochistan. There is three years imprisonment for this crime. The people who facilitate child marriage including parents, relatives, witnesses and Nikah- khuwan, could also be tried for the crime. He said if someone knows that a child marriage is about to happen and he informs local magistrate about it, the magistrate can issue a stay order to ensure this marriage is not solemnized. The people who arrange this marriage could be arrested.
Promenent Human Rights Defender Advocate Lala Hassan Pathan while taking to ENN said the sections 3&4 of Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act 2013 clearly declare child marriage as crime and its punishment is maximum three years not less than two years imprisonment with fine.
While responding to a question Lala said we need more awareness on the law within masses as well as in Judiciary, lawyers and police.

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