Our Staff Reporter
A five-year-old girl was married off to a 22-year-old boy at village Raman Shar outskirts of Dakhan Town with the consent of her parents in the limits of Gaheja Police Station, some 40kilometers away form here, on Saturday. According to an official, acting on the information, a special police party headed by SHO Dakhan Khuda Bakhsh Panhwar carried out a raid and succeeded in arresting Nikah-Khawan namely Molvi Kifayatullah Bhutto, of 40, groom Habibullah Shar, and father of groom namely Gul Meer by caste Shar, and took a five-year-old bride, namely Kori daughter of Papo aka Zameer Shar into police custody with her mother.
While according to police sources, Nikah-Khawan had completed the Nikah before police reached there. The Dakhan Police shifted the accused and bride to Dakhan Police Station and later handed over to Gaheja Police for further necessary action against them under early child marriages restraint Act 2013. The Gaheja Police have registered a case against groom, his parents and the parents of the girl on the behalf of the state under section 3, 4 and 5 PPC, accordingly.
The Deputy Director Social Welfare Larkana, Faheem Bhutto informed this scribe that Social Welfare Department was playing a role for referral mechanism and matter was already highlighted. Naveed Ahmed Phulpoto, the Child Protection Officer at Indus Resource Centre [IRC] has said that we would inform their higher authorities about early age marriage because IRC has no power to take action against accused.
Shahab Osto, the prominent lawyer and analyst, termed the Nikah as illegal and has no legal status and said that according to Sindh child marriages restraint-Act 2013 child marriage is a crime! It is injustice! It leads to social isolation, and robs the educational opportunities from a girl while a girl has a complete right to live her life freely, and should not be forced to early age marriage and highlighted the losses about premature marriage including health complication while born baby five times more vulnerable therefore the mortality rate increases in such cases.
On the other hand, Zulfikar Ali Soomro, District Coordinator Human Rights Foundation [HRF] Shikarpur, strongly condemned early age marriage and urged the rulers to take serious efforts for implementing the Child Restrain-Act 2013 while he demanded the higher authorities to take notice of the early age marriage.