Hindu Marriage Bill passed in Pak senate, first personal law for Hindus

The Pakistan Senate on Friday unanimously passed ‘The Hindu Marriage Bill 2017’ following which the Hindu community in the country is set to have a personal law for the first time.

The bill, which was approved by the National Assembly on September 26 last year, is likely to get presidential assent next week to become a law. It will help Hindu women get documentary proof of their marriage. It will be the first personal law for Pakistani Hindus, applicable in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Sindh has already formulated its own Hindu marriage law, reports the Dawn.

The bill, presented in the Senate by Law Minister Zahid Hamid, faced no opposition and was approved by the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights on January 2 with an overwhelming majority.

While approving the bill, committee chairperson Senator Nasreen Jalil of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement had announced, “This was unfair, not only against the principles of Islam but also a human rights violation, that we have not been able to formulate a personal family law for the Hindus of Pakistan.”

The law paves the way for a document ‘Shadi Parath’, similar to Nikahnama for Muslims, to be signed by a ‘pundit’ and registered with the relevant government department.

The Hindu parliamentarians and members of the community, however, had concerns over one of the clauses of the bill that deals with ‘annulment of marriage’. It states that one of the partners can approach the court for separation if anyone of them changes the religion.

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