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one arrested in child marriage case as a five-year girl was married to 13-year-old boy in Sheikhupura

LAHORE: Police arrested at least one suspect on Monday in connection with a child marriage case in Sheikhupura’s Kot Nazir area, where a five-year-old girl was married to a 13-year-old boy.

The arrest was made during a raid, with further raids ongoing to apprehend other suspects involved in the illegal marriage.

Child marriage is prohibited in Punjab for individuals under 16 years old, yet such practices remain prevalent in the province.

According to a police spokesperson, a case has been registered under the Child Marriage Restraint Act on behalf of an assistant sub-inspector from the Saddar Muredke police station.

The First Information Report (FIR) noted that the children were forcibly married, and the suspects fled as police approached.

The FIR states that Yousaf, the grandfather of the boy, admitted to forcibly marrying his grandchild along with his son, Muzammil Abbas.

The report also names several other individuals involved: the girl’s father, Imran, her grandfather, Amjad, as well as Bashir and Akram Suleman alias Chana, who were present at the marriage. Another suspect, Arshad, organized the event, and Umar Hayat performed the nikah (marriage contract).

“The suspects committed a crime under ‘The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act 2015’ by forcibly marrying the underage children,” the FIR stated.

In 2015, Punjab retained the legal marriage age at 16 but increased penalties for violations under the Punjab Marriage Restraint Act 2015.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government has drafted the Punjab Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2024, to prevent marriages under the age of 18.

According to the draft, marrying or arranging the marriage of a person under 18 will be punishable by rigorous imprisonment of two to three years and a fine of Rs. 100,000 to Rs. 200,000.

Those who register such marriages will face the same penalties. Parents or guardians who facilitate such marriages will also face imprisonment and fines.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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