ISLAMABAD: National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) in collaboration with its development partners UNICEF, UNFPA, UN Women, FCDO and UKAid held a two-day (11-12 October) National Stakeholders’ Conference on Ending Child Marriage. It was held to commemorate International Girl Child Day, October 11. Agenda of the consultation was to build a national framework on Ending Child Marriage after reviewing the proposals and inputs from provincial stakeholders.
On second day of the conference, addressing the opening session in which Islamic Jurisprudence on Child Marriage was widely discussed, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Prof. Dr. Qibla Ayaz said that Child Marriage is more an administrative and social issue rather than just dealing it under the religious domain. He expressed that on such matters collective wisdom always have a foremost position that may culminate into a piece of legislation having ultimate consensus. He added that CII had already placed recommendations to bring necessary amendments in Nikkah nama, as well as to empower Nikkah registrars with pertinent trainings so that they may play an important role in legal procedure of Nikkah. In the session, distinguished panelists stressed upon the need of dialogue on all relevant fora to find constructive solution and to adopt accepted precedents from other Islamic countries on child Marriage.
In the second session that was conducted on the topic of Legislation on Child Marriage at Provincial and Federal level-Stock taking, representatives of departments working on child rights across Pakistan informed the audience about the status of legislation on child marriage in their respective regions. They jointly emphasized to have uniform national legislation in Pakistan to avoid the legal implications that were witnessed in Dua Zahra case.
At the end of the session Minster Women Development Department, Gilgit Baltistan Dilshad Bano and Federal Secretary Human Rights Mr. Allah Dino Khawaja delivered their closing remarks. Ms. Dilshad stressed to have ulema on board on such moot as they have much more influential role in changing minds and perspectives in society. She demanded to have awareness and sensitization sessions on community level to sensitize parents in rural area on the health consequences of early marriages in young girls. Secretary Human Rights said that child marriage should not be seen only with health and biological perspective but should be studied keeping in mind the capacity of young girl to meet family’s responsibilities. He underlined the issue of forced marriages of minority girls in the country and urged for uniform legislation and institutional structures on this crosscutting issue that has psycho-social and economic impacts.
Afterwards, group discussions were conducted among provincial groups to come up with proposed framework on challenges, opportunities and strategies in all provinces to end Child Marriages. It was featured by all sides that education, community engagements, awareness and sanitization and to have authentic data was very much essential to have constructive policy framework to end child marriage.
Conference was wrapped up with the vote of thanks by Chairperson NCSW Ms. Nilofar Bakhtiar.