Pakistan's Hindu women hope for protection in new law

By REUTERS
April 12, 2017 06:24
1 minute read.
Breaking news

Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

ISLAMABAD  - Sapna Gobia is busy preparing for her wedding in Pakistan in a few weeks. In many ways, her wedding will follow traditions passed down through generations, with the bride and groom circling a sacred fire lit by their families.

But unlike the marriage of her parents, Gobia's will be formalized by a government certificate under a new Hindu marriage law.

The 25-year-old will be one of millions of women from Pakistan's Hindu minority who now have the right to a certificate establishing her marital status under the Hindu Marriage Act 2017 that was signed into law on March 19.

"We Hindu girls and married women have lived in the shadow of constant fear ... of being kidnapped, forced to abandon our faith and convert and re-married forcibly to someone not from our faith," said Gobia, a graduate in English literature from a government college in the town of Dharaki in southern Pakistan.

She hopes the new marriage law will help prevent such incidents of kidnapping of Hindu minority women and their forced conversion to other faiths for bigamous, forced marriages.

"With our marriages now legally registered with government authority ... no one could be able to stop us and our husbands from proving our marital status," Gobia told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"More importantly, bigamy has now been termed an unlawful and punishable crime in the new law - that is a big relief."

Since partition from India in 1947, and the creation of Pakistan as a separate state for Muslims, marriages of the Hindu minority of 30 million were not officially recognized, leaving Hindu women without protection under the law.

Related Content

Breaking news
August 21, 2018
Liberman on funeral violations: "Um el-Fahm should be part of Palestine"

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF