New Pakistan Law That Allows Men to Marry Underage Girls Sparks Outrage

Published February 6th, 2020 - 04:33 GMT
Huma Younus, latest victim of forced conversion and forced child marriage.
Huma Younus, latest victim of forced conversion and forced child marriage.

By Salam Bustanji

In accordance with Shari'a law, a Pakistan court has ruled that men can marry underage girls as long as they have had their first period.

The ruling was made by the Sindh High Court in Karachi during a hearing into an alleged abduction, forced conversion and marriage of Huma Younus, a Catholic girl taken from her home on October 10, 2019.

The Catholic teen's parents say that she was born on May 22, 2005 and have provided a baptismal certificate and school testimony as evidence that she is 14.

During the hearing, the parents argued that her marriage is invalid in line with the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, which forbids marriage under the age of 18.

The judges, Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Irshad Ali Shah, ruled that as per Shari'a law, even if Huma was a minor, the marriage between her and her alleged abductor, Abdul Jabbar, would be valid as she had already had her first menstrual cycle.

The Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act was passed in 2014 in order to stop forced marriages to minors in the province, primarily of Hindu and Christian girls, where it is prevalent.

However, the new court ruling proves that it was merely an attempt to improve the image of the country in front of the international community.

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