ISLAMABAD - The National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC) expressed concern over the marriage of a 14-year old Dua Zehra from Sindh province.

In a statement, the commission said that she had allegedly contracted marriage on her own free will with Zaheer Ahmed, despite the fact that she was underage which is illegal according to respective child marriage prohibition laws both in Punjab and Sindh.

NCRC further said that she had been missing from 26th April, and despite directions of the Sindh High Court, she had not been recovered so far. NCRC reiterated that child marriage was a form of child rights violation which took away a child’s right to safe and healthy childhood, quality and complete education. NCRC said it stood with the aggrieved families including that of Dua Zehra and called upon authorities that the occurrences of such incidents be investigated in an impartial manner and the perpetrators and the accused be held accountable for this harmful traditional practice. NCRC said that the alleged violators and accused be dealt with according to law and in future no one would be allowed to take law into their hands. NCRC demanded that Dua Zehra be recovered and produced in the court of law so that the law could take due course. NCRC called upon the federal and provincial govts, parliamentarians, law enforcement agencies, civil society and concerned stakeholders to sit together to devise a strategy, to review all the child marriage related laws prevalent in Pakistan to find out gaps and fill the lacuna.

 

such as registration of child marriages, setting the minimum age of child marriages across the provinces, qualifying the age of consent and free will, declaring the illegality of child marriages through awareness raising campaigns, education, rule of law, eradication of poverty and birth control.