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Child marriage in Pakistan is legally prohibited to an extent under the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 (No XIX). Under the Act, the minimum age for marriage was 18 years for a male and 16 years for a female (section 2).[14] However, under a new bill passed in Pakistani Senate, the minimum age of marriage for female was increased to 18.[15] Contravention is punishable with a fine of Rs.1000 and an imprisonment of one month or both for

An adult male (above 18 years of age) who contracts marriage with a child (section 4).[16]

A person who solemnizes a child marriage (section 5).[17]

A parent or guardian who does not act to prevent a child marriage (section 6).[18]

The 1929 Act is one of those few laws on the statute books that were introduced by the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, while he was a member of the British India Legislative Assembly. It was passed on October 1, 1929, to restrain the solemnization of child marriages and applied to the whole of India effective April 1, 1930. It still remains in force, and extends to the whole of Pakistan. It applies to, both Muslim and Non-Muslim, citizens of Pakistan, and regardless of whether they are resident in Pakistan or elsewhere.[17]
Prior to the 1929 Act, the Age of Consent Act in 1892 was enacted which laid down the age below which a marriage should not be consummated. Child marriages however continued unabated. It was in order to control this menace that the 1929 Act was enacted.[17] The purpose of the Act, as its title signifies, is to restrain the solemnization of child marriages. Child was originally defined in the Act to mean a “person who, if a male, is under 14 years of age, and if a female, is under 12 years of age.” The age was subsequently raised.


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