“Opposition to Anti-Child Marriage Bill” Editorial, The Express Tribune, 12 December 2015

"Every time a child is married, we throw them further into the cycle of poverty and gender inequality, and snatch away their right of consent.

In 2015, the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) refused to pass a bill that banned marriages under the age of 18 for religious reasons. Despite the Council of Islamic Ideology’s stance on child marriage being unlawful, a number of lawmakers deemed the marriages of girls between ages 15-18 lawful and said that the proposed bill went against divine laws and local traditions. Pakistan is sixth in the world for the highest number of child marriages. Child marriage is a human rights abuse that has intergenerational impacts, as these young women are not biologically nor emotionally prepared to be wives and mothers. Not only this, but child marriage perpetuates gender inequality, stripping young women of their rights of consent. I cannot stress the danger of Pakistan’s outright acceptance of child marriages enough. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has long established the right to consent in marriage. How are we still struggling with this aspect in Pakistan, when our own religions insist that it is wrong? The opposition to the bill banning child marriage is shameful. After all, “who will protect our vulnerable children when parliamentarians themselves seek to curtail human rights?”

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“Opposition to Anti-Child Marriage Bill” Editorial, The Express Tribune, 12 December 2015


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