Theatre, workshop held to highlight bane of child marriages
LARKANA: Highlighting the woes of underage marriages, a play was staged in Dokri town under the umbrella of Pirbhat Women Development Society and NGOs — Oxfam and Aahang — on Wednesday.
People from different walks of life and school children participated in the programme and appreciated the efforts of the organisers who focussed on the ills of early marriages.
The characters demonstrated adverse psycho-social impact of child marriages with reference to the early child marriage restraint law. Attendees who earlier were reluctant to participate in a discussion shared their opinion after watching the play.
Iqbal Detho, provincial manager of Advocacy Sindh (NGO), said the main objective of the training was to impart training regarding the contents and provisions of the recently enacted law — The Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013 — as well as fundamental Rights in the Constitution of Pakistan, especially Articles 20 (Right to religious freedom) and 25 (equality of citizens). He said these articles ensured that every citizen had rights to freedom of religion and all citizens were equally important before law without any discrimination. Dr Irshad Danish, child rights advocacy expert, briefed the audience about the basic concepts of child rights, highlighted the main causes and impact of child marriages.
Nazul Pirzado from Aahang Karachi, Murad Pandrain of Pirbhat Theatre group and others participated in the theatre and spoke on the occasion.
Workshop on law
On Tuesday, a two-day training on the implementation of The Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013 and The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 with Nikah registrars of Ratodero and Bakrani taluka and Hindu Mahrajs of Larkana district, was held here in a local hotel.
Dr Inayat Magsi (clinical psychiatrist) emphasised that marriage registrars were morally and legally bound to exercise their duties to look into the social, psychological and medical conditions of the bride and bridegroom. When all above things were ignored at the time of marriage, women and children suffered a lot, he said.
According to him, every day 25,000 underage marriages are held throughout the world. These marriages had grave adverse impact in terms of maternal mortality, child mortality and involvement of child in armed conflicts, drug addiction, malnutrition and lack of education.
Girls involved in early marriages were most vulnerable because they faced many complications especially irritation, hopelessness, isolation and fistula disease. He said the girls married before 18 years of age could not perform bio-psycho-social responsibility of motherhood.
Every marriage solemnised under Muslim laws should be registered and it was compulsory under Section 5 of The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 where by the union council had authorised the Nikah registrars to maintain marriage record, he said. Not only the parties concerned, but also any person could get the copy of Nikahnama after paying the prescribed fees, he said.
The participants said that it was the need of hour to strengthen the union council system for registration of marriages and regulation of the Nikah registrars under the government umbrella. The government should act on the Sunnah and Shariah pattern in solving the social, economic and ethical problems of society.
Calling Nikah registrars the key stakeholders, speakers, including Khan Muhammad Mangiand Mubashir Soomro, said they (Nikah registrars) could play a key role in preventing the underage marriages.