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After 16-month Struggle, Hindu Marriage Bill gets tabled in Pakistan’s National Assembly

The bill was approved by the standing committee on February 8 and has received support from the Hindu community and liberals

Islamabad, August 18, 2016: After the 16-month struggle, the much-debated Hindu Marriage Bill has been tabled in Pakistan’s National Assembly. Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Ramesh Lal, one of the bill’s movers, said on Wednesday that it took around 10 months for a house panel to clear the bill and another six months for its report to be tabled in the house.

“The delay was possibly because of extraordinary debates and discussion around the bill, but at least now the government should consider tabling it in the house in the next session,” Dawn online quoted Lal as saying.

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The bill was approved by the standing committee on February 8 and has received support from the Hindu community and liberals.

Map of Balochistan. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Map of Balochistan. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

However, some of the more religious members of the Hindu community have expressed strong reservations regarding the bill’s contents including allowing separated individuals to remarry, and also states that a Hindu widow is entitled to remarry and shall have the right to do so, of her own will and consent, after a period of six months since the death of her husband.

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It is expected that the cases of abduction of married Hindu women will stop once this bill is enacted, Dawn online reported.
The law would give the Hindu community proof of marriage in the form of a ‘shadiparat’, which is similar to a Muslim ‘nikahnama’.

Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have consented to the federal government formulating a Hindu marriage law that they would then adopt, while Sindh had formulated its own Hindu marriage registration law.

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