Islamabad, March 6 : In a shocking incident, a 64-year-old lawmaker of Jamiat-Ulema-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) has married a 14-year-old minor girl, raising serious questions and demands of explanation from the party leadership in the Pakistan parliament.
JUI-F's Maulana Salahuddin Ayubi, a sitting Member of National Assembly (MNA), had recently married a 14-year-old minor girl from Chitral in the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has demanded the JUI-F leadership to come out with an explanation on the marriage of the lawmaker with a minor girl, terming the reported marriage as "very disturbing news".
"Very disturbing news of an underage girl's marriage had been reported in Indian media today. The reported marriage of a JUI-F MNA with a young girl was a violation of the Child Marriage Restraint Act," he said while speaking in the Parliament session.
"The government isn't investigating the matter, but the JUI-F leadership should come out and deny the incident before the House, because we and Pakistan's parliament are being ridiculed over this across the world," he added.
"Today I raised issue of under age marriage by a JUI MNA, I hope all sane voices in NA will take notice of this absurd act by a member of National Assembly and will join voice to seek explanation," Chaudhry tweeted.
Chaudhry's demand of explanation was endorsed by Maleeha Bokhari, Paliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice, who called the marriage an "illegal act and criminal offense by the JUI-F MNA", who, she said, has violated the Child Marriage Restraint Act by marrying a minor girl.
"There was a deafening silence on the issue from the so called champions of democracy who stand by JUI-F head Fazlur Rehman," she said.
The incident occurred earlier this month when a local organisation in Chitral filed a request with the police to conduct an inquiry into the reported marriage of the underage girl of Grade 9 with an MNA from the Balochistan province.
As per details of the application, Anjuman Dawat-e-Azeemat had contented that the news of the marriage of the underage girl with the elderly person had gone viral on social media, angering the people at large.
The application requested the police authorities to ascertain if the girl had attained the marriageable age. And if not, then strict action should be taken against the those responsible under the Prevention of Child Marriage Act.
The underage girl is a student of Government Girls High School, Jughoor, which confirmed her date of birth as October 28, 2006, confirming that the child has not attained the age of marriage.
The police authorities in Chitral have stated that a thorough inquiry will be launched into the matter.