Pakistan’s religious body endorses underage marriage



ISLAMABAD: A religious body in Pakistan has declared girls as young as nine years old eligible to be married.

Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) chairman Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani said after a meeting yesterday that media and ‘some other segments of society’ were not taking the council’s decisions seriously.

He said laws that defined a minimum age for marriage were not Islamic and should be repealed, adding that the council would recommend that the Parliament amend these laws to bring them in accordance with Islamic principles.

He also criticised the Sindh Assembly which last month passed Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Bill, banning underage marriages.

Clarifying the decision, Sheerani said that a ‘nikah’ could be performed at any age, but the bride could only start living with the groom after reaching puberty, the report said.

The CII chief also said that most of the clauses of the existing Muslim Marriage Law, 1961 were un-Islamic.

He said that section 6 of the law, which required men to seek permission from their wives before entering into another marriage, was not in accordance with Islamic principles.

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