A Pakistan bill that attempted to put an end to child marriages was recently withdrawn after the Council of Islamic Ideology argued the bill went against the Islam religion.
The Islam religion states that a girl can be married as soon as she shows signs of puberty, meaning many girls in the country of Pakistan as young as nine years old are married off to men.
After the Council of Islamic Ideology declared the bill anti-Islamic, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony rejected the bill on “purely religious grounds”.
This bill, if passed, would have introduced harsh punishments for men who married minor females in an attempt to protect these young girls from entering these marriages which are more like child-slavery contracts than a nuptial agreement.
In response to bills hoping to protect these girls, the Council of Islamic Ideology stated “Parliament cannot create legislation that is against the teachings of the Holy Quran or Sunnah”.
According to the Pakistan constitution, the Council of Islamic Ideology chairman has the power to overrule the opinions of all of the council’s members. Although the chairman cannot overrule Parliament, his position is so widely respected that it is typically used to frame future laws. If Pakistan chooses to continue to live blindly under a religion that treats women as child slaves, it looks like there will be no reform when it comes to these marriage laws.