03/01/2017 1:02 PM IST | Updated 03/01/2017 2:34 PM IST

Hindus In Pakistan Can Finally Get Their Marriages Registered

It also allows divorced Hindus to remarry.

Associated Press

ISLAMABAD -- The Pakistan Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights has unanimously approved the Hindu Marriage Bill, which will enable the said community to get their marriages registered and to appeal in courts of law in cases of separation.

In addition, there are penalties for violating the provisions of the bill, which allows Hindus to finally have a proof of marriage document.

The bill passed on Monday also allows separated Hindu persons to remarry.

Clause 17 of the bill states that a Hindu widow "shall have the right to re-marry of her own will and consent after the death of her husband provided a period of six months has lapsed after the husband's death".

Minority member in National Assembly Ramesh Kumar Vankwani called the move a new year's gift for Hindus living in Pakistan.

"Today, we are proud to be Hindu Pakistanis after the approval of the bill. Hindus will now be able to get registered their marriages and also apply for divorce under family laws," he said.

Top constitutional expert Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said the bill is in accordance with the essence of the Constitution.

The bill will be applicable to all Pakistan minus Sindh province which last year separately adopted its own Hindu marriage law.

Earlier in September, the National Assembly had passed the Hindu Marriage Bill 2016, paving way for the adoption of a comprehensive and widely-acceptable family law for Hindus living in Pakistan, reports the Dawn.

Hindus make up approximately 1.6 per cent of Pakistan's Muslim-majority 190 million population, but they have not had any legal mechanisms to register their marriages since independence in 1947.

Christians, the other main religious minority, have a British law dating back to 1870 regulating their marriages.

(With inputs from PTI)

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