For example, if you are a Hindu in the country, you cannot prove that you are married. Even after 69 years of Independence, the Pakistan government has failed to enact a Hindu Marriage Act.
Absence of a marriage act has paved the way for the exploitation of Hindu women in Pakistan. For example, if you are a Hindu in the country, you cannot prove that you are married. Even after 69 years of Independence, the Pakistan government has failed to enact a Hindu Marriage Act.
Unregistered marriages often land such women in trouble. While on one hand they are not able to prove their legitimate right to acquire husband’s property after his death or divorce, they are subject to physical exploitation and forced marriages since they are unable to prove their marriage.
Majority of Hindus live in the Sindh province of Pakistan which has earned a bad name for forced religious conversions of Hindu women to Islam. The absence of a marriage act is exploited by the conservatives with vested interests.
“They are abducted, raped and forcibly converted after a forced marriage. They never get justice as neither their families nor they can prove that were married. They also cannot apply for a divorce nor get alimony or remarry as they do not possess any marriage certificates,” Amritsar based activist and historian, Surinder Kochchar who often visits Pakistan told MAIL TODAY.
Despite the ban on child marriages, minor Hindu girls are forcibly abducted and tortured by Muslim men in various parts of the country. Their families never get justice as such cases are hushed up by the dominating Muslims.
Not only this, the Hindu women are also deprived of Identity Cards under National Database Regulation Authority as they are unable to provided them any legitimate proof of their marriage.
A high court advocate in Rahim Yar Khan city, Amer Nadeem who is also a legal consultant on minorities with Action Aid Pakistan claims that the minority Hindu women not only struggle to prove their marriage but are also subject to exploitation by the men of their own community.
“While almost all religious communities have their respective marriage registration rules and certificate of marriages for married couples, the Hindus remains deprived of this right. There is no registration or documentation of Hindu marriages in Pakistan,” said Nadeem.
Fearing a backlash from conservative Muslims clerics, the Pakistan government has deferred the proposed Hindu Marriage Bill 2015 last month.
The bill was also tabled three times earlier in 2008, 2011 and 2012 but failed to get consent and continue to lick dust in the record rooms. There is a lot of resentment among the minority Hindus after the bill was deferred by the government.