ISLAMABAD: The bill to amend the child marriage restraint act 1929 in the National Assembly on Tuesday exposed divisions within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government’s rank and file as the cabinet members openly expressed conflicting views on it.
The bill appeared in the national assembly a day after the Senate approved it with a majority vote. According to the amendment, marriage under 18 years can lead to a fine of Rs200,000 and three years of rigorous punishment for facilitators.
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri expressed his objection on the bill, presented by PTI lawmaker Ramesh Kumar, and said that the bill is not acceptable in present form hence it should be sent to the Islamic Ideology Council.
State Minister Ali Muhammad Khan called the bill in a clash with Quran and Sunnah.
“I openly disagree with the bill even if it costs me my position,” said the minister. The sentiment was shared by newly appointed state minister for interior Brigadier (retd) Ijaz Shah.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Human rights Shireen Mazari rejected the opposition raised by fellow cabinet members and said that nobody or individual has sole authority on religious matters.
“Jamia tul Azhar has given a fatwa against the child marriage. Should we consider it un-Islamic,” the human rights minister questioned.
The deputy speaker called for a vote on the bill – which was later passed after winning by 72-50. The bill was referred to a standing committee