Divorced, widowed Hindu women can now remarry in Pakistan's Sindh

10 Aug 2018 | By Garima Bora

In a first, divorced or widowed Hindu women in Pakistan's Sindh province have been allowed to remarry under the Sindh Hindu Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2018, made by the provincial assembly.

Earlier, divorced or widowed Hindu women were not permitted a second marriage.

It was moved by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional leader Nand Kumar and passed by the assembly in March.

Here's more.

In context: Pakistan passes bill for Hindu women to remarry

10 Aug 2018Divorced, widowed Hindu women can now remarry in Pakistan's Sindh

AmendmentAmendment accords rights of separation to both the spouses

The amendment accords the right of separation to both the spouses, but also ensures the financial security of the wife and children, The Express Tribune reported.

"Either party to Hindu marriage, whether solemnized before or after the commencement of this Act, may present a petition to the court praying for the decree of judicial separation," according to the law.

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Law also places ban on underage marriages

The law also places a general ban on underage marriages among members of the Hindu community. "The Hindu community had been protesting forced conversions and marriages of underage girls," said Nand Kumar.

Minorities miseryBefore amendment, Hindu women didn't have proper rights

Kumar has also moved a bill against the forced conversions of members of religious minorities, but the bill was gathering dust in the Sindh Assembly Secretariat.

He said that before the enactment of this law, Hindu women were considered lesser mortals and not even accorded the right to divorce.

"The amendment is aimed at getting rid of old and outdated customs," Kumar said.

Other parties welcomed the move

Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto and other party leaders also felicitated the last provincial assembly's lawmakers on the passage of the Act. Before the passage of this law, there was no legal cover for Hindu marriages for the past seven decades.