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Falak Noor and Pakistan’s underage marriage problem

Falak Noor and Pakistan’s Underage Marriage Problem

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On 8th April, Falak Noor, a minor, was given a choice by the Gilgit-Baltistan court to choose between her 17-year-old husband and her family. Falak chose her husband.  

The question is not about her choice but whether she should have a choice as a minor or not. In the case presented to Gilgit-Baltistan, the biological age of Falak was determined from 13 to 16 years of age.

Falak Noor was kept for two and a half months by her in-laws. She stays for two days at Dar-ul-Aman. She did not even receive proper psychological help.

The state must protect minors from such harassment. It is pertinent to understand that the Quran and Sunnah do not point to any particular age for marriage. Arabia was a tribal setup based on tribal authority.

Gilgit-Baltistan is a tribal state. It, however, falls in the ambit of the state of Pakistan- a nation-state. As per the law of Gilgit- Baltistan, and Baluchistan, 1929 act.

Punjab’s law allows females above 16 and males above 18. Sindh is the only province that passed a bill in 201 banning underage marriages.

Also Read: ‘I Was A Child-Bride At The Age Of 15 – I Am Doing Ph.D. Today, Thanks To My Mother-In-Law’

Sindh police are directly authorized to arrest any party involved in child marriage.

There have been many cases in which the courts have taken the right course of action. Justice Anwar ul Haqq Pannu of the Lahore High Court has derived a very detailed judgment on child marriage, loopholes in the law, and the role of Nikah Khawan. Islamabad High Court directed the government to tackle child marriage cases in Alishba Bibi vs the State.

Farooq Omer Bhoja vs. Federation of Pakistan determined it is not against the Quran and Sunnah to have a determined age for marriage. Pakistan follows the United Nations Commission on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). On 9th April, Justice Shahid Kareem of Lahore High Court directed the Punjab government to end marriage age-based discrimination within 90 days.

Marriage is an institution that requires a mature mind. Underage marriage is modern day and age does not seem to render modern requirements. The world now follows specialist ideology, a consent-based understanding.

The institution of marriage requires consent. It requires sound, mature minds. It is the very reason why underage marriages should be discouraged.   

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