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Child marriage stopped in Pakistan

Child marriage stopped in Pakistan

In yet another shocking incident reported from Sargodha in Pakistan’s Punjab province, a 13-year-old girl was rescued by the local police minutes before her niqah ceremony. The event, taking place in Hayat Colony of Sargodha, highlighted the evil of child marriage in the country.

The girl was oblivious to the chaos happening around as her father and the 19-year-old boy she was getting married to were detained by the police along with witnesses called in for the ceremony.

Pakistan has for long been languishing at the bottom of the global ranking table on child rights, with around 50 per cent of children being malnourished. A few years ago, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child had in a report published expressed “serious concern” about exploitation and abuse of children in Pakistan.

“We are seriously concerned about the large number of children falling victim to sexual abuse, exploitation, rape and abduction, including by the Taliban, in particular in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkwa, parts of the Punjab and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas; reports of children being sexually exploited for the purpose of child prostitution and child pornography; the lack of effective measures taken by the government to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation, prosecute perpetrators and provide justice to the victims, who are often stigmatized by society,” the report had mentioned about Pakistan.

Writing in Pakistan’s <em>The News International</em> last year, Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan (retired) had expressed similar concerns. “Pakistan has a per-capita income of approximately $1,900; a middle-class person in Pakistan earns around $6 a day on average. The average Pakistani has to feed nine or ten people with their daily wage. There is also a high inflation rate that adds to misery of the poor. Nearly 30 years after Pakistan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), no integrated child protection case management and referral system—as aligned with international standards—has been established. An education emergency must be implemented to put 22.8 million out-of-school children in school,” wrote Chowhan..