Local police on Sunday successfully stopped an underage marriage by raiding the wedding venue here in the city’s Hayat Colony.

At least three people were arrested, according to police. The wedding had been arranged without the consent of the 13-year-old girl, authorities said, adding that the child’s father and the 19-year-old husband-to-be were among those detained. The two witnesses for the nikkah were also taken into police custody. Sargodha police said they have registered a first information report (FIR) against the husband-to-be and his parents, the child’s parents, the marriage officiator, and witnesses. An investigation was initiated in this regard, they added.

Penetrating culture of child marriage in Pakistan

Child marriage basically refers to an unlawful and illegal practice in which boys and girls are married off before they reach a minimum age of adulthood. Internationally, underage marriage is considered as a criminal practice as well as a human rights violation. Likewise, in Pakistan there is also a Federal Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 and Punjab Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act 2015 which fix marriageable age for girls at 16 and boys at 18. These both laws declare underage marriage a punishable offence. Regrettably, these existent laws haven’t brought any considerable decline in early marriage cases. Since these amendments have been enforced, there has been little action against child marriages in the country.

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