Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif approves lifting of ban on underage marriage

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approves lifting of ban on underage marriage  New Delhi, March 13, 2014 | UPDATED 17:57 IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reportedly given his approval for the removal of the law banning underage marriage as well as the law regarding the second marriage of a man with the permission of his first wife.

Sharif’s move comes two days after the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) decreed that laws on the minimum age of marriage were not in line with Islam and that children of any age can be married. This decree came at the end of the CII’s 191st meeting in Islamabad.

CII chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Sheerani observed that the laws related to marriage were unfair and that there cannot be any minimum age for marriage.

According to news reports, the council said the ban on child marriage does not hold ground and that children can get married at an early age. The bride can be bid to her husband’s household for the consummation of their marriage once she reaches puberty, added the council.

Hussein Younis Ali, 14 walks with his bride Nada Ali Hussein, 17. Reuters/Bakr al-Azzawi

In Pakistan, 15 is the ‘age of maturity’ for girls. The move comes in an apparent bid to radicalise Pakistani society. The CII, which comprises orthodox clerics from religious parties, has called for a consultative meeting with officials of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

A day before this decree on underage marriages, the CII chairman had come under fire for his statement and decree that the laws regarding a man’s second marriage with the permission of the first wife were against religious principles. “Sharia allows men to have more than one wife and we demand the government amend the law,” he told the media after the meeting.

Subsequent reports suggested that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has given his approval for a legislation to declare the law against underage marriage and the law regarding the second marriage of a man in the presence of his first wife unconstitutional and against religious principles.

The decision has resulted in a huge uproar across all spheres, especially on social media. Here are some of the tweets:

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