child marriage in pakistan
Child marriage in Pakistan.Reuters

While the Supreme Court of India in a historic judgement ruled that sexual intercourse with wives aged between 15 and 18 years will be considered rape, the same day Pakistan Senate rejected 'The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2017' calling it un-Islamic.

Sex with minor wife will be considered rape, says Supreme Court in historic judgment

The aim of the bill was to increase the minimum age to 18 from 16 for girls to get married in Pakistan.

However, Rehman Malik, chairman of the committee, had rejected the proposal to increase the age limit as it was contrary to Islamic injunctions.

"I have also discussed it with religious scholars and they also believe that girls can be married before the age of 18 according to Islam, so these kinds of bills cannot be passed," Dawn quoted Malik as saying.

Mixed reactions

The mover of the bill, Senator Sehar Kamran, in whose absence the announcement was made, has yet again put forward her argument on the necessity to raise the legal age of marriage.

"Girls as young as 10 are being married off in Pakistan even though the legal minimum age for getting married is 16 and this is because they do not get their Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) made. That is why I suggested the minimum age for getting married be raised to 18," stated Kamran.

child marriage in pakistan
Seven-year-old groom Mohammad Waseem (R) and his four-year-old bride Nisha (L) are escorted by security officials at a police station in Karachi October 31, 2008. Pakistani police raided a child marriage ceremony in the city of Karachi and arrested a cleric who was presiding over the wedding of a 4-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy.Reuters

"If the government thinks 16-year-old girls are adults, they should also be issued driving licenses and be allowed to cast votes," Karman further argued.

Kamran who feels that the law is vague said that the bill was important as it not only would have given girls a chance to seek further education but also save them from the complications caused due to early pregnancies and even death.

In fact, Kamran has even specified it in her draft bill that early pregnancy was the prime cause of death amongst girls aged 15 to 18 years in Pakistan.

Another senator, Tahir Hussein Mashhadi told the English daily of Pakistan that though he agrees that early marriages of Pakistani girls snatch their innocence and pregnancies affect their health as well, he chose to reject the bill as he thought along the same line as the majority of the Senate.

pregnant, arnold chiari symptom
[Representational Image]Pexel

"The chairman was of the view that girls of less than 18 years of age could be married off according to Islam and that the bill was therefore against Islam," said Mashhadi.