News Desk |
Dia Praxis, also known as, Dialogue in Practice, a transnational diaspora organization based in Norway and Pakistan, has partnered up with gender reforms and Pakistani public policy expert Salman Sufi to launch a campaign against forced marriages.
The project, launched at an event held in Oslo on Thursday, is not limited to Pakistan and will eventually apply in all Saarc countries that have legislation in place against forced marriage.
Currently, Pakistan’s federal law is still based around an act passed in 1929, in which the British rulers of India had fixed the age of consent at 14. It was improved to 16 by the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961.
For this project, Dia Praxis, which has worked comprehensively with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has teamed up with Sufi, author of the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act 2016 and founder of South Asia’s first survivor centric anti-violence against women centre, to help victims of forced marriages in Pakistan from the expatriate Norwegian-Pakistani community.
According to the Punjab Child marriage restraint act, any person marrying a girl of fewer than 16 years of age and the person conducting such marriage, including the Nikkah Solemnizer and Nikkah Registrar shall be liable for imprisonment up to 6 months and fined Rs: 50,000/-.
And Customs like Wanni and marriage in lieu of compromise, or marriage with the Holy Quran are illegal, liable for imprisonment for 3 to 7 years and fine of Rs: 500,000/-, according to the Section.310-A, 498-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. Also, a person forcibly marrying a girl against her will is liable to be punished with imprisonment for 3 to 7 years and a fine of Rs: 500,000/- [S.498-B Pakistan Penal Code]
Currently, Pakistan’s federal law is still based around an act passed in 1929, in which the British rulers of India had fixed the age of consent at 14. It was improved to 16 by the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961. After 2010, the prevention of child marriages became a provincial subject, although the Islamabad Capital Territory still fell under federal law, which continues to exercise an important framework reference for human rights obligations and precedence.
Read more: Child marriage is still legal in the US
In February 2017, the Parliament adopted an amendment to the Penal Code that would toughen punishment against child marriage. Offenders face a minimum of five years in prison and may serve up to 10 years. They also face a fine of up to 1 million rupees ($9,547).