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JUI lawmaker asked to resign for marrying ‘underage’ girl

Probe urged into JUI MNA's marriage with underage girl

Civil society demands resignation of MNA Maulana Salahuddin Ayubi for getting married to a 14-year-old girl in Chitral

PESHAWAR: Members of the Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN) expressed disappointment over the illegal marriage of MNA Maulana Salahuddin Ayubi with a 14-year-old girl in Chitral.

According to reports, the girl was a student of Government Girls High School, Jughoor, where her date of birth had been recorded as Oct 28, 2006, which showed that she had not attained the age of marriage.

With the legal age of marriage for girls being 16 except in Sindh where it is 18, Pakistan has the sixth-highest number of absolute child brides in the world (1.9 million). Child marriage prevalence rates in Pakistan remain alarmingly high; more than 21 per cent of girls in Pakistan are married before 18 and 3 per cent before they are 15 years old. Across provinces, prevalence is reported to be highest in Sindh (33%), followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (29%), Balochistan (22%), and Punjab (20%). It is estimated that by ending Child and Early Age marriage (CEAM) the country could potentially save 77 million dollars by 2030 or lead to a 6229 million dollar raise in earnings and productivity. It would also lead to the reduction of multi-dimensional poverty level – the number 1 priority for the government.

MNA Salahuddin Ayubi was elected to National Assembly from constituency NA-263 (Kila Abdullah) as a leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F).

Taimur Kamal, Coordinator PCSN, said: “MNA Salahuddin Ayubi should immediately resign as he as violated the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 according to which no girl below age 16 can be legal married in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or elsewhere in Pakistan.”

Sana Ahmad, Coordinator of the Child Rights Movement (CRM), said: “Girls are being bought like cattle heads in the name of marriage and smuggled out of Chitral without inviting any attention. This is a modern shape of human trafficking. Girls are bought and transported out of Chitral by organized gangs. Often time wealthy people come to Chitral looking for a second wife. No one cares about these poor girls afterwards,” She added.

Imran Takkar, a child rights activist, said: “We need very clear strategies to end child marriages long-term strategies, short-term, and medium-term strategies. We need to talk about the problem rooted in our culture. We cannot solve it in one, two, or five years. We need policies. We need legislation.”

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