Pakistan’s Sindh government starts work to implement Hindu marriage law

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Karachi– After three years of dithering, the government of Pakistan’s Sindh province has started work for implementation of the much-awaited Hindu Marriage Bill 2016, The Express Tribune reported.

In February 2016, Sindh became the country’s first provincial Assembly to pass the historic bill to provide a mechanism to the Hindu community to formally register its marriages.

According to the newspaper, local government secretary Khalid Hyder Shah this week issued two notifications. In one, he directed municipal authorities to implement the law by disseminating the guidelines to ‘Nikah’ registrars who are also responsible for solemnising Muslim marriages. In the second, he urged the authorities to ensure strict compliance of the law.

“The rules related to the Hindu Marriage Bill 2016 were issued by the Sindh Minority Affairs Department in 2017. However, they were not implemented in letter and spirit,” Shah told The Express Tribune. “Now, the local bodies’ officials have been instructed to ensure that the law is not only implemented but is also strictly followed.”

Once the Hindu Marriage Bill 2016 is enforced, marriages of minors – anyone who is below the age of 18 years – will be strictly prohibited. Violation of the law will incur punishment under the rights of the child.

As per Section-4 of the law, whoever performs, conducts, bring about or, in any way, facilitates child marriages (of anyone under the age of 18), shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to up to three years, but shall not be less than two years, and guilty persons shall be liable to pay fines. (IANS)

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