A lawmaker from Sindh Assembly has proposed an 18-year-old marriage bill titled Sindh Compulsory Marriage Act 2021. It seeks to make it compulsory for parents to marry their children by the age of 18. Reportedly the member of opposition from Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, Syed Abdul Rasheed submitted the draft.
What Does the 18-Year-Old Marriage Bill Say?
The legislation proposes that every person turning 18 would be legally bound to get married despite the circumstances. In case of any incapability, the parents would have to submit an affidavit to the Deputy Commissioner (DC) stating why children are unable to marry.
If parents fail to submit a valid reason in an affidavit, they would pay a fine of 500 PKR for each of their unmarried children above 18 years of age.
What Is the Reason behind this Proposed Law?
After proposing this bill, the lawmaker Rasheed appeared in a video message claiming that his proposition was in full accordance with Islam, on which the constitution of Pakistan is supposedly based. Furthermore, he said that Muslims have a right to marry after attaining puberty so it’s the responsibility of parents to make sure their children get married by then or by the age of 18.
There were also some notes for the federal government to introduce regulations in marriage functions. Rasheed also said that the government must simplify the task of marriage with no unnecessary burden on the parents and place a ban on dowry.
He was hoping that his proposed law would help the Pakistani youth to stop immoral activities. It was written in the “Objects and Reasons” section of the bill. Rasheed cited the rise of immorality in Pakistani societies, crime, and rapes as the reason for this bill to be passed. So, it is apparent that 18-year-old marriage was not a solution of how to have a strong marriage.
Pakistanis Resisting the Proposed Bill
The idea of making 18-year-old marriage compulsory has faced outrageous reactions throughout history. This time it is being proposed as a law in Pakistan so lawmakers can expect significant resistance, assessing from the reaction on social media.
The reason for this outcry is how women are objectified in the matter of marriage. By age limiting the marriage in Pakistan, it would be easy for pedophile predators to demand young women for their pleasure. The absurdity of the law has made people question if it was supposed to target women again in another fashion.
In Pakistan, most 18-year-old are still dependent on their parents so marrying them would only increase the parents’ financial responsibilities. Moreover, some were also confused whether the bill required 18 to be the age of both boy and girl or just the girl.
The bill was also discriminatory towards the non-Muslim community of Pakistan, which may have different views regarding marriage.
Even some Pakistani celebrities are worried about the consequences of this bill getting passed. Citizens are seemingly tired of being guinea pigs anymore and would like if the government could keep politics where it belongs and leave the people and their religion alone.