Updated* at 11:08 am on 27th July, 2017.
Gilgit: A large number of women, aged in Gilgit-Baltistan got married for the first time before reaching 18 years of age.
According to a survey carried out by the Gilgit-Baltistan Planning and Development Department, with UNICEF’s support, 13 percent of women interviewed during a survey said that they were first married before turning 15. On the other hand, 41 percent of the respondents said that they got married for the first time before reaching 18.
Up to 10,744 women, aged 15-49, were interviewed as part of the survey conducted in all ten districts of Gilgit-Baltistan, said a summary report of the “Multi Indicator Cluster Survey 2016-17”.
The study also found out that 3.8 percent of the respondents were in polygamous relationship.
13 percent of the respondent women have reportedly said that the, average, age difference between them and their husbands is 11 years, or more.
It is pertinent to note that the minimum legal age for marriage in Pakistan is 16, under the Child Marriage Act 1929.
n December 2015, a bill tabled by Aurangzeb Khan Advocate, Parliamentary Secretary for Law, calling for making marriages under the age of 18 illegal in Gilgit-Baltistan, was blocked by legislators who called it “un-Islamic”, and “against divine law”.
After the strong opposition, the bill was referred to a select committee for review. No progress has been made on it, so far.
* The legal age for marriage in Pakistan is 16, not 18, as erroneously reported. We regret the error.