Suspect arrested after 5-year-old girl married to 13-year-old boy in Sheikhupura

Police say more raids being conducted to catch other suspects involved in child marriage

By
Chaudhry Ghulam Ahmed
Suspect arrested after 5-year-old girl married to 13-year-old boy in Sheikhupura
A representational image of a child bride. — AFP/ File
  • It's illegal in Punjab to marry under age of 16.
  • Case has been registered on behalf of ASI.
  • Child marriages are prevalent in province.

SHEIKHUPURA: Police on Monday arrested at least one suspect in the case pertaining to child marriage after a five-year-old girl was married to a 13-year-old boy in Sheikhupura's Kot Nazir area.

Police said the suspect was arrested in a raid, while more raids were being conducted to catch the other suspects involved in the child marriage.

It should be noted that it is illegal in Punjab to marry before the age of 16. Yet, child marriages are prevalent in the province.

The police spokesperson said a case had been registered on behalf of assistant sub inspector of Sadar Muredke police station under the Child Marriage Act.

The first information report (FIR) mentioned that the children were forcibly being married, adding that the suspects fled away as soon as they saw police coming.

According to the FIR, grandfather of the kid, identified as Yousaf, admitted that he along with his son Muzammil Abbas was forcibly marrying his grandchild.

Suspect arrested after 5-year-old girl married to 13-year-old boy in Sheikhupura
This is a copy of the FIR. — Provided by the reporter 

It said father of the underage girl Imran, her grandfather Amjad, Bashir and Akram Suleman alias Chana were also present in the marriage, while a suspect named Arshad made all the arrangements. The nikah was solemnised by a suspect identified as Umar Hayat.

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

In 2015, Punjab kept the legal age of marriage at 16 years but increased the imprisonment and fines for the law’s violation as the province amended the Child Marriage Restraint Ordinance 1971 and passed the Punjab Marriage Restraint Act 2015.

Marriage under 18 years is offence: draft bill

Meanwhile, the Punjab government has prepared a draft of Punjab Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2024 to prevent marriages under the age of 18, The News reported on April 25.

According to the documents available with the publication, a person who marries a girl or a boy under age of 18 years or arranges such a marriage shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a minimum of two years and maximum of three years with a fine of minimum rupees one lakh and a maximum two lakh. Anyone who registers the marriage of minor children shall also be punished with imprisonment for a term not less than two years and not more than three years, and a fine not less than rupees one lakh and not more than rupees two lakh.

Parents or guardians who facilitate, support or permit marriage of minor children shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a minimum of two years and a maximum of three years, while a fine not less than Rs100,000 or not more than Rs200,000 will be imposed.