Marriage is going to be no longer a personal choice if the Sindh Assembly approves a private memeber’s bill. The private bill aims to make marriage compulsory for all above the age of 18. The parents will have to pay fine if the bill, the Sindh Compulsory Marriage Act, 2021, gets the assembly nod. The proponent, Syed Abdul Rasheed, from the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal suggested, in the bill, that Marriage at the age of 18 “will bring well-being in society”. In a video statement released after the bill was proposed he commented that, “To control all of this … according to the Shariat of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Islamic teachings, Muslim males and females have been given the right to marry after attaining puberty or after 18 years of age and fulfilling this is the responsibility of their guardians, especially their parents” He also talked about how this bill will allow for the decrease in immoralities that are rampant in the Pakistani society. He said “societal ills, child rapes, immoral activities, and crime” were rising in the country and this bill would allow for a decrease in these activities. Many women’s rights activists have taken to social media to comment on this bill. Many believe that the reasoning given for the proposal of the act justifies rape as an act of passion when it actually is an act of violence and aggression. The idea of rape as an act of passion, if this bill is passed, will be reinforced. Moreover, many were concerned with how the couple, when married at 18, will take care of their finances. Concerns were raised that women’s education is already an issue and many are deprived of it, this bill will further the gap between the educational attainment level of men and women. Activist and one of the organizers of Aurat March, Leena Ghani had many questions to ask. She wanted to know whether the state will provide healthcare, housing, a guarantee for jobs after completion of their education. She also wanted to know if both the boy and the girl are supposed to be 18 or if the state will allow an 18 year old male to marry a 12 year old female child. How is this 18-year-old couple meant to support each other financially? Will the Sindh Govt provide the newlyweds with housing? Allowance? Health insurance? Travel? Jobs after graduation? Childcare? Are they both supposed to be 18? Or does the Bill suggest the girl can be 12-18? https://t.co/1XIIGUEbvt — Leena (@Leena_Ghani) May 26, 2021 As a reply to Leena’s tweet, Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari said that PPP will oppose this bill. Bill has been proposed by an JI MPA – will be bulldozed by PPP. https://t.co/LTaUipXtCN — Bakhtawar B-Zardari (@BakhtawarBZ) May 26, 2021 The proposal of the bill is dangerous for followers of other religions. Christians and Hindus will again be marginalized and this can lead to an increase in the already escalating cases of forced conversions and marriages. Jibran Nasir also commented on the issue. The proposed bill in Sindh Assembly to make marriage mandatory at 18 must be only for Muslims, as Hindu and Christian girls are being forced into conversion and marriage at just 13 years of age. — M. Jibran Nasir 🇵🇸 (@MJibranNasir) May 27, 2021 Moreover, if we look at it from a psychological point of view, teenage is an extremely volatile age. Both men and women evolve rapidly in their 20s and it is possible that most of these marriages end up in a divorce or worse. Cases of domestic violence and honour killings may increase. Such a commitment at an early age can also lead to the development of many mental health issues. “Due to early marriages, young girls don’t have the ability to deal with responsibilities, early pregnancy and pregnancy-related mortality and morbidity, causing major physiological and psychological health issues in adolescent girls, resulting in losing relationship confidence and ability to maintain a healthy relationship.” A study done by Aga Khan University hospital stated. A majority of netizens opposed the bill however, there were some who were in favour of it being passed.