The Upper House of Pakistan’s Parliament has approved a draft bill raising the minimum marriage age to 18 years.
The meeting of the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights unanimously approved the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

Nasir Saeed, director CLAAS-UK commended the work of the Senate committee on human rights.

He said this issue has been ongoing for some time and expressed his hope that this time the government will approve this bill.

Mr Saeed said: “If this bill is approved, it will not only be helpful to stop child marriages but to some extent stop forced conversion and forced marriages of Christians and other minorities’ girls in Pakistan.”

He further said there is no need to consult with the council of Islamic Ideology (CII) as proposed by Ali Muhammad.

Mr Saeed warned: “I fear the council of Islamic Ideology (CII) may not approve this bill, having earlier ruled that girls as young as nine years old were eligible to be married.

“But we should not forget that despite opposition from the CII, the Sindh government has already passed the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Bill, 2013, which stipulates strict penalties for all parties that compel underage individuals to enter into marriage.