Pakistan’s Sind province, for the first time, has granted rights to divorced or widowed Hindu women to remarry. The women have been allowed to remarry under a landmark amendment made by the provincial assembly, as per reports. Earlier, divorced or widowed Hindu women were not permitted a second marriage.
Amendment grants rights of separation to both the spouses
The Sindh Hindu Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2018 grants the right of separation to both the spouses. Also, the bill ensures the financial security of the wife and children. Pakistan Muslim League-Functional leader, Nand Kumar, moved the bill. The assembly passed it in March.
“Either party to Hindu marriage, whether solemnised before or after the commencement of this Act, may present a petition to the court praying for decree of judicial separation,” according to the law.
Nand Kumar has also moved a bill against the forced conversions of members of religious minorities. However, the bill is yet to be presented in the Sindh Assembly secretariat. Kumar expressed that before the enactment of this law, Hindu women were granted the right to divorce. The amendment to this law aims to get rid of vague and outdated customs.
Law also places ban on underage marriages
The law also tends to place a general ban on underage marriages in the Hindu community. The community, for a very long time, has been protesting forced conversions and marriages of underage girls. The bill sets 18 as the minimum age for marriage. This, surely, makes a progressive attempt to tackle social issues faced by minorities in Pakistan.
Other parties, in the country, also welcomed the move. Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto and other party leaders also praised the last provincial assembly’s lawmakers on the Act’s passage. The passage was consented by the Governor last week. Before this, there was no legal cover for Hindu marriages for the last seven decades.