Let Girls Be Girls Not Brides – Modern Diplomacy | Wonder Mind Kids

Child marriage is a very common threat in Pakistan and is deeply rooted in traditional, societal and customary norms. Nonetheless, it points to a serious abuse of girls’ human rights. One in three girls in Pakistan marries before the age of 18 (Demographic and Health Survey 2012-13).

A girl’s access to a healthy and secure childhood, a good education that can lead to better employability, and civic and political autonomy are compromised by early marriage. With 1821 child brides in 2020, Pakistan ranked sixth among nations with the highest number of child brides. Girls lose their childhood and future chances if they are married off under age. Girls who marry are less likely to complete their education and are more vulnerable to abuse, spousal rape and health problems. In addition, child marriage puts girls at risk for unsafe births, ulcers, sexually transmitted diseases, and perhaps even death. Also, teenage girls are more likely to die from difficulties during pregnancy than women in their 20s. Firstborn children of women who were 16 years old, 17 years old and 18-19 years old at the time of birth had a 2 to 4 times and 1.2 to 1.5 times higher mortality rate than mothers who gave birth, respectively were 23 to 25 years old. This is an unfortunate truth that while mankind has reached the Moon and Mars, our women are still dying of unsafe childbirth.

This threat has also been documented in a number of previous articles. However, I was deeply shocked by the recent event of the forced marriage of a young girl from Balochistan when she was just five years old. The girl’s father filed an FIR with Khuzdar Police Station alleging that his daughter was forced into marriage based on regional and tribal beliefs. After the FIR was filed, the Chief Justice of the Federal Shariah Court suo-motu took note of the situation and stated that the act appeared to violate both the 1973 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Islam.

Factors Behind Forced Marriages in Pakistan

There are several factors why early age marriages are prevalent in Pakistan. Most of these causes are: permissive legislation; a failure to enforce existing laws; the treatment of children as slaves; a primitive feudal class structure; lack of public awareness of the negative effects of child marriage; widespread poverty; Watta Satta (Marriages between the children of siblings or the exchange of girls in marriage between two households.) underlying human trafficking; concept of Vani (Another pernicious tradition is offering girls, often minors, for marriage or enslavement to a family that has wronged them as payment for settling disputes) and a lack of political will on the part of the government. The inadequacy of the birth registration system and lack of responsiveness are major contributors to forced marriages. The age of the child or children at the time of marriage can be falsified, since the birth registration for minors, especially girls, is hardly given priority. Furthermore, there are no unified, impartial, or robust children’s rights organizations that could keep tabs on violations of children’s rights, particularly those of teenage girls.

laws

The Prevention of Misogynist Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Act 2011, which “strengthens the protections of women against discrimination and abuse,” was passed in Pakistan in 2012, according to the country’s national UPR report to the HRC. Forced marriages, child marriages and other social practices that harm women are outlawed.

The following headings represent how the Committee on the Rights of the Child addressed the issue of child or early marriage in its final report and recommendations (2009): the definition of the child, non-discrimination, respect for the child’s views, teenage health, harmful society customs, trade and sale

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Discrimination Against Women, Article 16 of which affirms that every woman has the right to enter into marriage “only with her free and unconditional consent”, have both been signed and ratified by Pakistan .

Pakistan has acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which obliges States Parties to uphold children’s rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion in Article 14.

The Sindh Provisional Assembly unanimously approved the law in November 2016 to end forced marriages and conversions. The draft law was prevented by the agitation of the Islamist groups and parties and was never put into effect.

recommendations

First, nobody in Pakistan, including many women, seems to care about the precarious situation of women. In fact, some educated professional women face so much harassment from men, their families, and society at large that they lack the strength to stand up to their critics. Therefore, the small group of women advocates campaigning for the rights of marginalized women in Pakistan deserve special recognition for their courage to stand up for and promote women’s rights despite the harassment they would face from men and society.

The government should spend on education, especially in outlying areas of Pakistan where a majority of girls do not have access to primary education. Rather than just being a result of financial difficulties, social conservatism can also contribute to educational differences between boys and girls. Long-term political considerations must be made. A lack of maternal education would have adverse effects on future generations and is therefore just as important as the education of boys, since maternal education is believed to play a significant role in the overall development of children and an entire generation.

Victims of forced marriage are also denied access to their most basic but most important right, a good education. Here I want to tell the story of a 17 year old lawyer fighting against child marriage from Swat. Since it was common in her household for girls to get married when they were old enough to fetch water, she married a taxi driver at the tender age of 11. In an interview she said:

“I have bravely told my family that if they marry me to this person, I will sue them in court. First, they and my community have not supported me, even vilified me. But now they do. A confident person can bring about change”

In addition, the police must be empowered to identify the culprits and take appropriate action. I definitely don’t mean “freedom from the law” or “no accountability” when I say empowerment. In order to ensure that complaints made are heard and dealt with, strict policies regarding the institution of the police must be developed and implemented, along with increased penalties for such activities.

All persons involved in a child marriage, including the couple’s parents and the person performing the marriage; The NikahKhwan will be severely punished.

The legal age for marriage should be the same for both sexes, namely 18 years. However, the birth registration system needs to be improved. Nadra needs to implement a systematic and reliable digital birth registration system.

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