Pakistan’s Hindus unaware of law pertaining to women, says report

Hindus Pakistan

Pakistan’s minority Hindus don’t avail provisions of law pertaining to their women, property, inheritance and marriage as they are unaware of the provisions’ existence, Asian Lite reported.

Little has been done to let the country’s largest minority community, a minuscule 1.8 per cent of the 220 million population, know of the existence of the law that took 69 years to enact, leading to its ‘negligible’ use. The law was signed into law six years ago, Asian Lite reported citing Dawn.

The majority of Hindus live in the Sindh province of Pakistan which has a separate law, enacted after several years of chequered passage and debate.

According to Dawn, the implementation of the Hindu Marriage Act, 2017, applicable in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, “reeks of our institutionalised prejudice” against the community. Members of the community for which it has been enacted are simply unaware of its existence.

According to ABC News, the law is important, especially for women, as in Pakistan, over 1000 underage girls belonging to the minority Hindu, Christian and Sikh communities are kidnapped and forcefully converted to Islam every year.

Most of the targets are Hindu and Christian girls from lower Castes and poor families.

Dawn called the Hindus, Pakistan’s “frozen out” community.” It noted that at an event last week, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expressed concern that marginalised sections were “ignorant about laws that protect them.”

The provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act are watered down to meet reservations from different quarters. They are still ‘opaque’ about who is authorised to solemnise Hindu nuptials, as per Asian Lite.

The law’s journey, the newspaper observed, has been ‘paradoxical’.
“Although a comprehensive document which breaks with severe traditions on many counts, its implementation has so far merely replaced a marriage photograph with a certificate.

“The majority of women from a frozen-out community in Pakistan continue to live without official documentation, consent and inheritance, and submit to underage marriage as well as social and domestic violence,” Dawn said, Asian Lite reported.

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