Pakistan: Say No to Legalised Underage Marriage

Islamabad, March 12, 2014: Bytes For All, Pakistan, strongly condemns the Council of Islamic Ideology's (CII) recommendation for the abolition of laws against underage marriage in the country, and backs the call of parliamentarians to reconstitute the CII.
Underage marriage opens the doors to a number of grave societal problems, including high maternal and infant mortality, and has been proven to lead to higher rates of domestic violence and spousal abuse. Abolishing laws against underage marriage is also akin to legalising childhood sexual abuse, an issue that is already rampant in Pakistan. The sexual abuse of children -- which is what the marriage of a minor would logically entail -- is scientifically proven to cause an unimaginable amount of physical, emotional and psychological damage, which victims require years of intensive, professional therapy to come to terms with. The damage that it causes also has horrifying effects across multiple generations.
As such, laws against underage marriage are the only defence for children in the country against the morass of sexual abuse. These are also the only laws under which any hope of bringing down Pakistan's high rate of maternal and infant mortality can be harboured.
We are horrified at the CII's blasé and myopic attitude towards such grave issues. We call upon the parliament to disregard the CII's suggestions as dangerous to the greater good of the citizens of Pakistan. We also call upon the parliament to reassess the need for a Council whose members have repeatedly refused to adhere to the basic principles of science, logic, and universal human rights.
For its Take Back The Tech Campaign, B4A made this song "Ehsan" against child marraiges. Accessible here.
About Bytes for All, Pakistan
Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan is a human rights organization and a network of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals and practitioners. It experiments and organizes debate on the relevance of ICTs for sustainable development and strengthening social justice movements in the country. Its mission is “ICTs for development, democracy and social justice”.
For more information:
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House 273, Street 17, Sector F- 10/2
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel. +92 51 2110494-95