Senate considers bill for blood screening before marriage

Passes unanimous resolution condemning Quetta terrorist attack

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Members of the Senate’s Standing Committees on Law & Justice and Religious Affairs on Friday debated a bill calling upon the government to ensure screening of blood before marriage in order to prevent spread of Thalassemia in children.
The joint meeting of the standing committees held under the joint chairmanship of Senator Javed Abbasi and Senator Hafiz Hamdullah. Senator from Rawalpindi Ch Tanvir Khan is the mover of the amendment in Muslim Matrimonial Law 1961.
While addressing the members of the standing committees Senator Ch Tanvir said screening of blood test before marriage was not un-Islamic or against Shariah. If the genes of a Thalassemia patient are transmitted to the next generation the entire family will suffer, he said. It may be mentioned here that every year between 6,000 to 7,000 children are caught by this deadly disease. By blood screening, its spread can be checked, he said.
Ch Tanvir further said that in Saudi Arabia, Iran and other countries of the Middle East law exists regarding compulsory blood screening before marriage. It has been mentioned in the bill that in order to prevent HIV Aids, Thalassemia and other blood-related diseases blood screening may be declared compulsory in the country before marriage. Supporting the bill, Senator Javed Abbasi said it was quite useful for the whole society. Senate’s Chairman Raza Rabbani’s advice will also be sought on this bill. He asked the Law Ministry to submit a comprehensive report on the bill within two weeks. Secretary Religious Affairs Ministry was of the view that instead of introducing a mandatory law on blood screening, first a countrywide awareness drive should be launched. Ch Tanvir proposed Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS) should hold a public debate on the bill. Senator Pir Ameenul Hasanat was of the view that a family with Thalassemia patients suffers for lifetime. Senator Hamdullah said people should be facilitated and their problems should be resolved.
He called for addressing the rural mindset before introducing any such bill in the Parliament. PIMS pathologist Dr Hassan Raza said since there exists no regulatory system for the laboratories spreading across the country and a large number of them are not qualified for this purpose implementation of such bill will create problems. Without proper infrastructure and regulatory system for the laboratories, the government should first of all move in that direction.
Meanwhile, it is reported that Senate on Friday passed a unanimous resolution strongly condemning the terrorist attack on the Police Training Center in Quetta last month.
The resolution moved by Leader of the Opposition in Senate Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the incident. “This house expresses solidarity with the bereaved families and prayed for the eternal peace of the martyred and early recovery of the injured,” the resolution, said.

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