The Pakistan Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights has approved the Hindu Marriage Bill, enabling the nation’s Hindu community to get their marriages registered and to appeal in courts of law in cases of separation.
This comes a day after a Senate committee approved the landmark draft legislation, nearly four months after it was passed by the National Assembly
The bill allows Hindus to finally have a proof of marriage document, and allows separated Hindu persons to remarry. The document is called the shadipatr, similar to the nikahnama for Muslims.
Clause 17 of the bill states that a Hindu widow “shall have the right to re-marry of her own will and consent after the death of her husband provided a period of six months has lapsed after the husband’s death”.
Minority member in National Assembly Ramesh Kumar Vankwani called the move a new year’s gift for Hindus living in Pakistan
“Today, we are proud to be Hindu Pakistanis after the approval of the bill. Hindus will now be able to get registered their marriages and also apply for divorce under family laws,” he said.
Earlier, in September, the National Assembly had passed the Hindu Marriage Bill 2016, paving way for the adoption of a comprehensive and widely-acceptable family law for Hindus living in Pakistan, reports the Dawn. Hindus make up approximately 1.6 per cent of Pakistan’s Muslim-majority 190 million population, but they have not had any legal mechanisms to register their marriages since independence in 1947. Christians, the other main religious minority, have a British law dating back to 1870 regulating their marriages.