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Pakistan Hindus Unable to Register Their Marriages


ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, September 18, 2011 (dna India): Pakistan’s four million Hindus, the country’s largest minority, are unable to register their marriages, due to continued delays in passing the draft bill for the Hindu Marriage Act that was proposed in 2008.

There is currently no system in Pakistan for registering the marriages of Hindus, Sikhs, Baha’is and certain other minorities.

Without a marriage certificate, people face difficulties when travelling abroad, said parliamentarian Araish Kumar. “These are not the best of times for us as we face stiff resistance from the government on the issue.”

One reason the bill has not passed is that there is controversy over clause 13 of the proposed 16-page bill, which states that any Hindu can divorce his or her spouse at any time and in any court. The draft empowers any court to entertain any petition for the legal dissolution of a marriage. “How can we allow the inclusion of a divorce clause as there is no concept of divorce in our religion?” Kumar said.

Various other rules have been included in the bill, such as when divorcees may marry again, the legal rights of children, void and voidable marriages, and the punishment for bigamy and other contraventions of Hindu marriage laws.

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