Pakistan National Assembly passes Hindu marriage bill

Once the law is approved, it will be applicable on Pakistani Hindus in Punjab, Balo­chis­tan and Khyber Pakhtun­khwa.

Pakistan’s National Assembly has approved the ‘The Hindu Marriage Bill 2017’ on February 18 which will ensure a personal law for  Pakistani Hindu community and Hindu women will get documentary proof of their marriages. This bill was first approved by the assembly on September 26, 2015, and will likely to get presidential assent next week to become a law. Once the law is approved, it will be applicable on Pakistani Hindus in Punjab, Balo­chis­tan and Khyber Pakhtun­khwa.

Law Minister Zahid Hamid presented the bill in the Senate which faced no opposition in the house. Further, the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights on January 2 approved the bill with a majority. While, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s Senator Mufti Abdul Sattar opposed the bill citing that the Constitution is capable enough to fulfil the needs.

Further, the Committee chairperson Senator Nasreen Jalil of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement on Friday said,”The act is totally unfair. This move not only opposes Islamic principles but also it violates the human rights.”

However, Senators Aitzaz Ahsan, Jehanzeb Jamaldini and Sitara Ayaz raised their voices in support of the bill and asserted that the bill is in favour of the marriage of Hindus living in Pakistan and had nothing to do with the Muslims.

Ramesh Kumar Vankwan had been working to have the Hindu marriage law implemented and he stated that it was difficult for the Hindu women to prove their marriage. He said,”This law will demotivate the forced religion conversions and benefit the Hindu Community by streamlining after the marriage of individuals.”

The bill says, one of the partners can approach the court for separation if any of them changes the religion.

With the minimum age of marriage set at 18 years for both boys and girls, the bill is widely acceptable for Pakistani Hindus and relates to marriage, its registration, separation and remarriage.