Child marriage is very common in Muslim-majority countries. Young girls are married before they hit the age of 16. This orthodox practice is robbing girls of their childhood. Recently, in Indonesia, a three- day conference of women clerics was held. The clerics called for introducing a legal age of marriage. It was proposed that a girl shouldn’t be allowed to get married is she is under 18. Early marriages wreak havoc on the lives of young girls. Pregnancy at an early age puts their health at risk.
According to Unicef, every one out of the four girls under the age of 18 is married in Muslim-majority countries. The situation is the same in Pakistan. Laws should be implemented to prevent the marriage of a minor girl. Focus should be on the education of young girls so that they can get a decent job that can help them alleviate their household’s sufferings – one of the biggest reasons of early marriages is poverty, parents can’t afford to feed a big family so they marry off their daughters. The suggestion of the female clerics in Indonesia is a saner one. Pakistan should follow suit.
Ali Jan Maqsood