Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights unanimously passed the Hindu Marriage Bill 2016.
The committee met in Islamabad with Senator Nasreen Jalil in the chair. Senator Sitara Ayaz, Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari, Mufti Abdul Sattar, Nisar Muhammad, Aitzaz Ahsan, Farhatullah Baber, Dr Ashok Kumar, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani and Dr Darshan were also present at the meeting.
Main Provisions of the Bill:
The bill will enable the Hindu community members to get their marriages registered and to appeal in courts of law in cases of separation.
There were penalties for violating the provisions of the bill, which allows Hindus to finally have a proof of marriage document called the shadiparat, similar to the nikahnama for the Muslims.
The bill also allows separated Hindu persons to remarry. The bill states that a Hindu widow “shall have the right to re-marry of her own will and consent after the death of her husband provided a period of six months has lapsed after the husband’s death”.
There was no Hindu marriage law in the country for 66 years.
The bill will be applicable to all Pakistan minus Sindh province which last year separately adopted its own Hindu marriage law.
Hindus make up approximately 1.6 per cent of Pakistan’s Muslim-majority 190 million population, but they have not had any legal mechanisms to register their marriages since independence in 1947.
Christians, the other main religious minority, have a British law dating back to 1870 regulating their marriages.