Pak approves Hindu Marriage Bill after decades of inaction

Islamabad (PTI): After decades of delay and inaction, the Hindu minority community in Pakistan will soon have a marriage law as a parliamentary panel has unanimously approved the Hindu Marriage Bill.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice yesterday passed the final draft of Hindu Marriage Bill 2015, where five Hindu lawmakers were specially invited.

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Though the delaying tactics continued almost to the last, the committee adopted the bill unanimously after making two amendments to fix the minimum age of the marrying male and female at 18 and making the law applicable to the whole country, Dawn news reported.

The bill will now be tabled in the National Assembly where it has fair chances of being passed as the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party is supporting it.

Committee Chairman Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk expressed regret over the long-drawn tactical delay in framing family law for the Hindu community.

“It was unbecoming of us Muslims in general and the political leaders in particular. We were required to facilitate the legislation, not obstruct it. If we 99 per cent of the population are afraid of one per cent, we need to look deep inside what we claim to be and what we are,” he said.

Virk and ruling PML-N lawmaker Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani had been pushing for approving the bill but members of other parliamentary parties persisted with raising objections.

Shagufta Jumani of Pakistan People’s Party and Ali Mohammad Khan of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf raised many queries about minimum age of a Hindu girl to be married and the status of marriage if any of the partners converted to Islam.

“Under the banner of Pakistan Hindu Council, I arrange mass marriage of around 100 girls every year and we clearly deny marriage of even an orphan who is under 18. People do not insist on marrying anyone below 18 years,” Vankwani said.

He wanted to drop a clause in the bill that said the marriage will be nullified if any of the partners converted to Islam. It was inserted by the Council of Islamic Ideology when the bill was sent for ‘Sharia vetting’ some six months ago.

“Why a Hindu and a Muslim or Christian cannot live together as happily married couple?,” Vankwani said.

His suggestion to drop the clause met stern resistance from Jumani and Khan after which Committee Chairman stopped the discussion to avoid “total collapse” of the meeting.

“If Hindu boys and girls elsewhere can marry into other religions why this cannot be a reality here?,” Vankwani said, adding that open-mindedness is required in the society.

After the 18th Amendment, issues relating to religious minorities and their family matters became provincial subjects. Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have passed the requisite resolutions, but the Sindh and Punjab assemblies have not yet done so

5 Comments

  1. If you are an intellectually honest person, you know the ‘one-difference’ between Paakistaan and India!! It’s the same difference that has resulted in such a medieval, anti-minority legal system in Pakistan while minorities enjoy equal rights in India!!! However, our media and intellectuals will never admit the ‘one reason’ !!!!! LOL

    • If you are an intellectually honest person, you know the ‘one-difference’ between Paakistaan and India….O R Pai.

      It is sad inspite of knowing this, you want India to be like Pakistan. This one difference as you rightly said makes countries like India, USA etc stand out in the world. When millions of sikhs and Hindus were massaccred by Pakistan the Indian leadership stood by its resolve to be a democracy and not a Hindu state as desired by the RSS. It is for this resolve that Gandhiji was murdered.

      When USA was attacked by a few misguided muslims, it did not take revenge on its resident muslims. Inspite of repeated attacks by misguided muslims the EU still accepts the needy muslims with visas and help. When fanatic organisations like ISIS and RSS paint entire community with same brush the wise people refrain and take right decissions.

      RSS wants to punish and deprive the minorities for the mistakes of a few, and you support. Now that you have realised I hope to see the change in you.

  2. So, it took only about 69 years to pass the law and how long has India had laws that permit Muslims to have multiple wives! In a democracy there should be one law for all the people regardless of religion – do other democracies in the world have different laws based on religion? Time to change these laws that were put in place to please the electorates or minorities.

    • Mr. B. Dinesh,

      I agree with your views that there should be uniform laws in India for all religions, as far as it does not interfere with religious freedom.

      The laws should make it clear that a man can marry and have one wife, maximum two children and the government should educate the people to marry and have children at the right time: that it when they are educated and have good jobs or business, at the right age, when they have a house and when they are confident that they are capable of supporting their families and ensuring a good future to their children. People who disobey these laws need not be granted passports, ration cards and other impediments can be put in order for everyone to tow the line.

      • Nelson Lewis – “I agree with your views that there should be uniform laws in India for all religions, as far as it does not interfere with religious freedom.”

        Sir, the phrase “as far as possible” used by you is self betrayal. There are many laws which have religious ramifications and are contrary to uniformity in a multi religious, multi ethnic state. If those aspects are to be addressed, then we would have the laws in the present pattern. So, be frank enough to admit the fact uniform law is an utopian concept. Or else, say in India we must have strictly uniform law for all, including persons following different religions and ethnicity.

        India being a democracy, having predominant Hindu majority, the uniform law acceptable to Hindu Religion alone would be the law, and every other religious law must fall in line.

        This is what RSS wants. Do you want it? Do not be evasive. Do not attack me calling me a Congress stooge. Answer this straightforward single pointed question. Because, this question is necessitated by your camouflaged “equanimity”.

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