Pakistan's Sindh Provincial Assembly passes landmark bill allowing Hindu women to remarry, bans underage marriage

Karachi: For the first time, divorced or widowed Hindu women in Pakistan's Sindh province have been allowed to remarry under a landmark amendment made by the provincial assembly, a media report said. Earlier, divorced or widowed Hindu women were not permitted a second marriage.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Sindh Hindu Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2018 not only accords the right of separation to both the spouses but also ensures the financial security of the wife and children, The Express Tribune reported. It was moved by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional leader Nand Kumar and passed by the assembly in March. "Either party to Hindu marriage, whether solemnised before or after the commencement of this Act, may present a petition to the court praying for a decree of judicial separation," according to the law.

The law also places a general ban on underage marriages among members of the Hindu community. "The Hindu community had been protesting forced conversions and marriages of underage girls. This law has banned the marriage of minors from the Hindu community," said Nand Kumar.

Kumar has also moved a bill against the forced conversions of members of religious minorities, but the bill was gathering dust in the Sindh Assembly secretariat. He said that before the enactment of this law, Hindu women were considered lesser mortals and not even accorded the right to divorce. "The amendment to this law is aimed at getting rid of old and outdated customs," Kumar said.

Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto and other party leaders also felicitated the last provincial assembly's lawmakers on the passage of the act, which was ratified by the Governor last week.

Before the passage of this law, there was no legal cover for Hindu marriages for the past seven decades.

Updated Date: Aug 10, 2018 17:41 PM

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