Resignation of MNA Demanded Due to Child Marriage

The Civil Society has demanded the resignation of Maulana Salahuddin Ayubi, an MNA, who recently got married to a 14-year-old child in the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. 

Members of the Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN) made it clear that they were disappointed by the MNA’s actions and illegal marriage to a young girl in Chitral. It was further revealed that the 14-year-old was studying at the Government Girls High School in Jughoor. Her date of birth at the time of enrolment was recorded as 28th of October, 2006, which indicated that she had not attained the age of the marriage, as instructed by Pakistani law, when she got married to the Maulana. 

The legal age in all the provinces, except Sindh, in the country, is 16. Currently, Pakistan has the sith-greatest number of absolute child brides across the world, which is a figure of 1.9 million. 

The rates of child marriage in the country remain alarmingly high to date. More than 21% of the girls in Pakistan are married off even before they turn 18, and 3% as well before the age of 15. 

Where the provinces are concerned, the prevalence has been observed to be the greatest in Sindh with 33%. It is followed by 29% in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 22% in Balochistan, and 20% in Punjab. 

It has also been estimated that if the country was to put an end to Child and Early Age Marriage (CEAM), it could potentially save around $77 million by the year 2030. It could also lead to a raise in productivity and earnings by a figure of $6229 million. In addition, it is predicted that halting CEAM will lead to a decline in the multi-dimensional poverty level in Pakistan, which is the number one priority for the government right now. 

Salahuddin Ayubi had previously been elected to the National Assembly, through the constituency of NA-263, Kila Abdullah. He took the position as a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F). 

Coordinator of the Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN), Taimur Kamal, stated that MNA Salahduddin Ayubi should resign right away because he has violated the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, according to which any girl below the age of 16 cannot be married to in the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as well as any other place in the country. 

The Coordinator of the Child Rights Movement (CRM), Sana Ahmad, also had a few words to say on the topic. She revealed that girls are bought and sold like heads of cattle for the purpose of marriage, and then eventually smuggled out of the city. She added that this is nothing but a modern and newer way of trafficking humans. 

Ahmad also pointed a finger towards organized gangs operating in Chitral, who are also involved in the buying and transportation of underage girls. According to her, wealthy people often come to the city of Chitral to look for a second wife and then do not care for them afterwards.