Woman at a radio station (Photo by Jeroen van Loon)

New Bill on Early Marriage in Pakistan’s Sindh Province

Karachi- 26 feb 2014: In Pakistan’s Sindh Province, the Peoples Assembly is preparing to pass a new bill, raising the age limit for marriage from 16 to 18 years old, Ms. Qaimkhani, Provincial Minister of Social Welfare and Women Development announced.

The minister spoke during an award ceremony organized by Rutgers highlighting media efforts to raise awareness on early and forced marriages. Ten journalists received special recognition for their reporting on the harmful effects of child marriages.

Rutgers Pakistan has been spearheading the Adolescent Girl Empowerment project (AGE), advocating with legislators, community and religious leaders and media to raise awareness about the harmful effects of child marriages and to raise the legal age of marriage.

In Pakistan, early and forced marriage is a reality for many girls. Parents marry off their daughters at an early age for cultural, social and financial reasons. Child marriage is however a human rights violation and harms the development of girls.

After marriage most girls drop out of school, which means an end to their education. The young wives become mothers at an early age, which is a serious threat to their own sexual and reproductive health as well as to the health of their new born children. Sindh province has the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality of the country due to early marriage.