Though the bill was passed unanimously, Senator Mufti Abdul Sattar of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) had opposed it, claiming that the Constitution was vast enough to cater to such needs. The Hindu Marriage Bill 2017 had been approved by the Lower House on September 26, 2015 and is likely to get presidential assent next week before it will become law. Later, the bill was approved by the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights on January 2 with an overwhelming majority. The bill will help Hindu women get documentary proof of their marriage and will be the first personal law for Pakistani Hindus, applicable in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
However, the Sindh province has already formulated its own Hindu Marriage Law for the community. The bill presented in the Senate by Law Minister Zahid Hamid faced no opposition or objection, mainly due to the considerate and sympathetic views expressed by the senators and the Members of National Assembly of all political parties in the relevant standing committees. Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, leading Hindu lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, who had been working relentlessly for three years to have a Hindu marriage law in the country, expressed gratitude to the parliamentarian.
He said it was difficult for married Hindu women to prove that they were married, which was one of the key tools for miscreants involved in forced conversion. Senators Aitzaz Ahsan, Sitara Ayaz and Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini supporting the bill said it related to the marriage of Hindus living in Pakistan and had nothing to do with Muslims. The committee chairperson Senator Nasreen Jalil of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, while approving the bill, said it was unfair not only against the principles of Islam but also a human rights violation that we have not been able to formulate a personal family law for the Hindus of Pakistan. Similar to Muslim's "Nikahnama", under this law the Hindu women will have "Shadi Parath". (UNI)