Pakistan’s new Hindu Marriage Law finally legitimises marital status of largest minority

Pakistan has this week finally recognised Hindu marriage ceremonies under the law. On Monday, Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain signed the Hindu Marriage Bill, 2017, turning it into law.

The Ministry of Human Rights in Pakistan worked for over three years to come up with the law. Under this law, amongst other mandates, Hindu marriages in Pakistan will involve a Shaadi Parath, analogous to the Islamic nikahnama, that will now allow Hindu marriages to be registered and regulated.

Hindu marriages are finally set to be recognised officially
Hindu marriages are finally set to be recognised officially. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

The National Assembly passed the bill in September last year but the Senate made some changes when it adopted the law in February this year, prompting it to be sent back. The Assembly passed the final version on March 10.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the government was focused on the provision of equal rights to minority communities residing in Pakistan. "They are as patriotic as any other community and, therefore, it is the responsibility of the state to provide equal protection to them," he said.

The passage of the bill will enable Hindu families to solemnise marriages in accordance with the customary rites, rituals and ceremonies. The law also provide procedures relating to restitution of conjugal rights, judicial separation, void and voidable marriages, termination of marriage, the financial security of spouses and children, alternate relief in termination of marriages, and termination of marriage by mutual consent.