KP govt committed to enact law on child marriag

KP govt committed to enact law on child marriage: Shaukat

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Minister for Information Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, said that  child marriages particularly marrying off young girls was a worrying problem of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.

The provincial government is committed to set 18 as minimum age for marriage for boys and girls through effective legislation. He urged upon all the members of provincial assembly to set an example for other provinces by unanimously passing a bill against child marriages. He was talking at a Panel Discussion on “Child Marriage Restraint Bill” arranged by Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly with support from UN Women Pakistan.

Other panelists included Dr. Qibla Ayaz, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), Rukhshanda Naz, Provincial Ombudsperson, Dr. Sidra Jabar, renowned gynecologist, Moulana Tayyab Qureshi, Khateeb Masjid Mahabat Khan, Peshawar, Representatives from civil society on behalf of EVAW (Ending Violence Against Women) Alliance.

Maliha Asghar Ali Khan, Chairperson WPC, and Zainab Qaisar Khan, Head of Provincial Office UN Women Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, gave welcome remarks and vote of thanks, respectively. When boys and girls are married off in young age, they confront different consequences. Within a rights perspective key concerns associated with child marriages range from the denial of childhood and that of emotional well-being to less personal freedom and compromised reproductive health growth and missed educational, and thus income generating opportunities.

Provincial Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights Sultan Muhammad Khan  said, “Being legislators, we cannot encourage child marriage. There is a need to have effective legislation and implementation to protect our children especially young girls. The KP government is moving in the right direction.”

Numerous young girls are married in the pretext of culture and religion and they remain disadvantaged physically, educationally, psychologically, and economically, and consequently continue to suffer their entire life.

Dr. Qibla Ayaz said that we must not encourage underage marriages as they come with a lot of very serious issues for the married couple, their families and society at large. These issues range from health to social, psychological and emotional.

Dr. Sidra said, there are generational consequences of marrying children at very young age like weak and malnourished infants, young mothers being at risk of health deterioration and event death, and higher under five mortality. A young mother is prone to physical, psychological and emotional vulnerabilities and disease, she added.

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