Senate body rejects bill to set minimum age for marriage at 18


ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice on Wednesday rejected a bill about setting an age limit for marriage at 18 years with a majority of votes. Three votes were cast in favour of the bill while six were cast against it.

The committee with leaders from varying political parties including the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) deliberated over the matter of minimum marriage age.

During the meeting which was chaired by Senator Javed Abbasi, Dr Qibla Ayaz, Chairperson Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), termed determination of age for marriage un-Islamic.

“In a 1961 law, the minimum age for marriage is 16 which was unIslamic” and stressed, “it will also be against the sharia if the minimum age for marriage is set at 18,” he said.

Dr Ramesh Kumar, also a member of the committee, advocated for fixing the marriage age limit at 18 years while JUI-F’s Alia Kamran opposed the idea of establishing an age limit for marriage.

PTI’s Sanaullah Masti Khel and Malik Farooq Azam decided not to favour any unIslamic law.

“Senate has already approved a law which limits the minimum age for marriage at 18 years,” said officials of the Ministry of Human Rights.

Sanaullah argued, “Can we change Pakistan’s name if the ministry decides tomorrow that the word Islamic should get replaced with public in the country’s name.”

“No restriction can be imposed on the age for marriage,” JUI-F’s Alia insisted.

On this occasion, PPP Secretary Information Dr Nafeesa Shah asked if 16 years was an Islamic age for marriage, how could 18 years be un-Islamic?

“Senate has approved a bill over early marriages. Has the entire Senate apostatized now?” Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice Senator Javed Abbasi asked Chairperson CII.

“I am not saying the Senate did not approve a law as per the teachings of Islam but the CII will deliberate over the recommendations proposed by the senate committee about it,” Dr Qibla replied.

“This matter has been viewed administratively and not from a religious point of view,” he added.