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Introduction of private bill for making marriage compulsory at 18 disallowed

The Sindh Assembly on Tuesday did not allow the introduction of different private bills, including the one aimed at making marriages compulsory in the province at 18 years of age.

The private bill in question was submitted by the lone member of the opposition Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) in Sindh Assembly, Syed Abdul Rasheed. The proposed law ‘The Sindh Compulsory Marriage Bill 2021’ also proposed a Rs500 fine for the parents who would fail to provide any plausible reason for not marrying their children after they turn 18 years old.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mukesh Kumar Chawla opposed the motion presented by the opposition legislator to introduce the bill in the house. Speaker Agha Siraj Khan Durrani also rejected the motion to introduce the bill in the house. This means that the proposed law got rejected at the first step of legislation by the house.

Earlier, after the private bill generated immense interest on social media, law adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab had announced that the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party had nothing to do with the proposed legislation, and the treasury lawmakers would reject it whenever it was presented.

Another bill whose introduction was not allowed by the house was moved by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf legislator Adeeba Hassan. The Sindh Child Protection Authority (Amendment) Bill 2018 was aimed at presenting in the house the progress report of the Sindh Children Protection Authority so that the house got to know about the work being done by the provincial authority.

The house also didn’t allow the tabling of the private bill submitted by PTI legislator Saeed Ahmed. The Sindh Prohibition of Private Money Lending Bill 2019 aimed to end the practice of charging interest on private loans.

The mover of the bill had requested the provincial assembly to adopt his proposed law, saying that the practice of usury is prohibited in Islam. The parliamentary affairs minister said they would, later on, move a government bill on this issue, as at the moment the private bill in question couldn’t be passed by the house.

The legislature also did not grant permission for the introduction of the private bill jointly moved by PTI legislators Syed Firdous Shamim Naqvi and Rabia Azfar Nizami. The Sindh Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2020 was aimed at ending the practice of child marriages in the province.

The parliamentary affairs minister informed the house that such a law against the unlawful practice of child marriages already existed in the province, so there was no need to introduce another bill on the same subject. Later, Speaker Durrani adjourned the session till June 15.

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