New brides can be seen in the attached photo from Karachi, Pakistan; all decked out in red in a buggy adorned with lights and decorations. While that mass marriage ceremony from Monday, March 24, 2014, may have featured the celebrations of the 120 couples whose weddings were funded by a local organization helping people who couldn’t afford wedding ceremonies, another Pakistani wedding is drawing scorn.
According to the Independent, a young girl only five years of age was forced to marry a 22-year-old man in Pakistan. The so-called wedding of the five-year-old girl to the 22-year-old man drew authorities to the wedding ceremony, which took place in the village of Raman Shar. The village is located near the outskirts of Dakhan Town, Pakistan, which is about 25 miles from Shikarpur, a small city and the capital of Shikarpur District, which is located in the Sindh province of Pakistan.
Police did not arrive in time to stop the nuptials. The Pakistani newspaper, Dawn, claimed that the marriage between the five-year-old girl and the man happened on Saturday, July 15. By the time authorities got to the wedding, they were able to arrest the 22-year-old “groom,” Habibullah Shar, along with his father, Gul Meer. Also arrested was 40-year-old Molvi Kifayatullah Bhutto, the wedding contract reciter or custodian.
SHO Khuda Bakhsh Panhwar led the police party that raided the wedding ceremony, and the five-year-old bride, along with her mother, Zameer Shar, was taken into custody to the Dakhan Police Station. The guilty parties face prosecution under the Early Child Marriages Restraint Act of 2013, and they were handed over to the Gaheja Police.
The minimum age for marriage in the region is 16, but child marriages are widespread throughout the Islamic country, according to the publication. Reactions of outrage are spreading across social media at the news of a five-year-old girl being forced to marry a 22-year-old man. Although those who fight against child marriage wanted the age of consent raised to 18, the Pakistani National Assembly rejected the notion.
Girls not Brides is a charity that estimates about one out of every five Pakistani women is married by the time they turn 18, with a high number of forced marriages.
[Featured Image by Shakil Adil/AP Images]