Sindh passes landmark Hindu marriage bill

Paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside a Hindu temple in Larkana, southern Pakistan's Sindh province, in this March 16, 2014 file photo.

Paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside a Hindu temple in Larkana, southern Pakistan’s Sindh province, in this March 16, 2014 file photo.


Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh on Monday became the country’s first region to give its small Hindu minority the right to register their marriages officially.

Non-Muslims make up only about three percent of the 190 million population of Pakistan, which was founded with a promise of religious freedom to minorities.

But Hindus have had no legal mechanism to register their marriages. Christians, the other main religious minority, have a British law dating back to 1870 regulating their marriages.

“The objective of this bill is to provide a formal process of registration of marriage for Hindus,” said the bill passed by the legislature in Sindh, where most of Pakistan’s Hindus live. The law can be applied retroactively to existing marriages.

Without the law, Hindus say their women were easy targets for rape or forced marriage and faced problems in proving the legitimacy of their relationships before the law. Widows have been particularly disadvantaged.


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