(FINK, Karachi,Pakistan)

Child Marriage

Child marriage means marrying before the age of 18, it impacts the life of girls and boy it is also the violations of girls’ human rights as of marrying prior. It may be the reason of health complications for both. Child marriage rate in South Asia (46%) in Africa rate is (37%) and also done in many other countries of the world.

In Pakistan 21% of girls married before the age of 18 even 5% are those girls which are married before the age of 15. Pakistan has sixth highest rate of unqualified child brides in the world which is 1,909,000, according to UNICEF. Highest rate of child marriage in Pakistan is in its rural areas and Gilgit , Baluchistan.

On March 27, Government moved a bill to improve the national child marriage law, the 1929 child marriage Restraint Act. That bill offers a positive pace to increase the age of marriage to 18 for girls, the bill emphases on stronger penalty for adult males and parents involved in the child marriage without any permission of Child. If anyone, not being a minor, bond for a child marriage the government give punishment to that person and imprisonment of six months and also fifty thousand rupees fine.

Child marriage is a global problem from Middle East to Latin America, south Asia to Europe that cuts across countries, culture, religions, and ethnicities. Though international laws implement on child marriages as per countries, but child marriages practices globally. These international laws is to reduce these practices. Marriage, divorce and family relations bill passed by Malawian Parliament (Marriage Act). This act passed for securing women & girls. This act passed in Malawi because Malawi has the highest rate of child marriages. Many of the campaigns also run in African and Asian countries to stop child marriages. India has also the higher rank of child marriages, due to high poverty of ratio. With populous Bangladesh is on highest number of child marriages.

Basically the trend of early child marriage has significantly declined from early 20’s and has determined that education and awareness programs has played the important role in influencing to stop early marriage. But still, comparatively rural or remote areas have a high ratio of early marriages. It has researched that parents or guardians who hang their daughters in a marriage life are the ones who want to develop themselves financially and socially regardless of ignoring the future consequences. Early age brides faces more complexity and health issues in their pregnancy period as these beautiful souls are bought by their parents they abuse them physically torture them which leads them to face more complexities. Usually girls who delivers a child at the age of 15 or 16 dies during deliveries because of the labor pain.

In Afghanistan there is a policy and civil law stipulates that girl cannot marry until her 16. The law in Afghanistan is challenging due to ongoing security in the country. Child marriage restraint act in 1929 passed during the British rule in Bangladesh. This act is applicable in the country, where the legal age of girl to marry is 18. Whereas, in India the legal age according Act for girls is 18 and for boys is 21. In Pakistan province (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) there is a group who’s working on child marriages. Existing laws and policies in Pakistan is not strong enough yet. However, 30% girls married underage in Pakistan.

 The causes of are varying from communities to regions in every developing states. There are several factors that are responsible in increasing early child marriage. Trafficking, customs, extreme poverty, lack of education, family norms, legislation aside from these factors government today only concentrate on making more money. Government should have emphasized on making plans and strategies to improve the economic conditions. These families are not aware about the laws and their punishment due to lack of awareness. A study in 2017 shows that every year secondary education lowers the chances of early marriages of children by 3.4% so dropping education early is the also the cause. The lack of enforcement of laws by the government encourage these families follow their practices of early marriages more often. The legislation's onto early child marriage like Constitution of Pakistan stated that 16-18 is the lawful age for the marriages according to Restraint Act of 1929 and the person who offends rule must pay thousand rupees or US dollar ten or the prison of one month or both are encouraging child marriage.

Empower girls, provide equal opportunities at every platform and encourage them to get Educated, not to marriage early. Government should enhance the law that supports child marriage; take strict action against these communities. Government should charge severe penalties on the believers of child marriage. So that every community or family that follows these customs take example from it.

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