Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Friday asked the leadership of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) to comment on the reported marriage of a 64-year-old lawmaker of the party with a minor girl from Chitral, dawn.com reported.
Earlier this month, news of the marriage of a 14-year-old girl with a man about four times her age had gone viral on social media.
The bridegroom was named as JUI-F’s Maulana Salahuddin Ayubi, who had won the NA-263 Qilla Abdullah seat in the 2018 general elections on a ticket of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), Dawn reported.
Speaking in the National Assembly, Chaudhry said the “very disturbing” news of the underage girl’s marriage had been reported in Indian media today. He added that the reported marriage of a JUI MNA with a young girl, whose age he stated as 13, was a violation of the Child Marriage Restraint Act.
He said the government wasn’t investigating the matter but the JUI-F leadership “should only come and deny the incident before the house because Pakistan’s parliament and we are being ridiculed over this across the world”.
“My heart is saddened that how we can allow such an act and expose our children like this,” he added.
In a tweet later, Chaudhry said he had “raised issue of underage marriage by a JUI MNA”.
“I hope all sane voices in NA will take notice of this absurd act by a member of National Assembly and will join voice to seek explanation,” he wrote.
Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari of the PTI endorsed Chaudhry’s comments on “this illegal act & criminal offence by JUI-F MNA who has violated the Child Marriage Restraint Act by marrying a 13-year-old child”.
Bokhari said there was a “deafening silence” on the issue from the “so-called champions of democracy who stand by JUI-F head Fazlur Rehman!”
Earlier this month, a local organisation in Chitral had requested police to conduct an inquiry into the reported marriage of the underage girl of grade 9 with an MNA from Balochistan.
In an application, Anjuman Dawat-o-Azeemat had contended that the news of the girl’s marriage with an elderly person had gone viral on social media, angering people.
Police were requested to conduct an inquiry into whether the girl had attained the marriageable age, and if not, take action against all those responsible under the Prevention of Child Marriage Act.
When contacted, Chitral police station SHO Inspector Sajjad Ahmed had confirmed receiving the application from the organisation and said a proper inquiry would be started as the girl’s father was presently not in Chitral.
He said the girl was a student of Government Girls High School, Jughoor, where her date of birth had been recorded as October 28, 2006, which showed that she had not attained the age of marriage.
He said earlier this month on the complaint of the organisation, police had reached the girl’s home, but her father had denied the girl’s marriage and had even provided an affidavit to this effect.