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National Assembly refers child marriage restraint bill to standing committee

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Tuesday referred the bill to amend the child marriage restraint act 1929 to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice for further proceeding, ARY News reported.

Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said no legislation could be made against Islam. He said the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) had opposed the bill in the past.

Ali Muhammad Khan said he would prefer to resign as MNA but would not support any bill against Shariah.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Dr. Noor-ul-Haq Qadri also opposed the bill.

Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari supported the bill saying that Turkey and Bangladesh had also set 18 years of age for marriage. “Parliament is supreme, it can take decision,” she said.

Majority of the MNAs supported to refer the bill to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice.

Some of the MNAs of Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-N also supported the bill.

The NA body will review the bill and consult CII on it for resubmitting to the NA for its approval.

On April 30, the Senate had passed, with majority vote, the bill to amend the child marriage restraint act 1929.

According to the amendment, marriage under 18 years can lead to a fine of Rs200,000 and three years of strict punishment for facilitators.

Read More: Senate green lights bill against underage marriages

Senator Sherry Rehman presented the bill to be passed unanimously, however, Senator Ghafoor Haidri raised an objection saying the bill should be sent to Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) for further deliberation.

Following the debate on the bill, the Senate chairman had sought voting and passed the bill with opposition of five votes.

The Senate Standing Committee for Human Rights had approved the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2018 on Jan 30.

Earlier, Senator Sherry Rehman had pointed out that after every 20 minutes, a woman dies in Pakistan of maternity-related complications and that out of every 100 females, 40 percent are married below the age of 18.

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