The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday made an important announcement regarding the legal age for marriage and declared that marrying off 16-year-olds would be illegal from now on.
The announcement came during the hearing of a case related to a 16-year-old girl, Sawera Falak Sher, who had been allegedly kidnapped and married off in May 2021.
Justice Babar Sattar, who heard the case, announced girls under the age of 18 can neither get married themselves nor can their parents get them married.
He further said that the permissible age for marriage would be 18 years and instructed the police to shift Sawera to the Golra Dar-ul-Aman. The court also ordered the administrator of the Dar-ul-Aman to allow the petitioner (Sawera’s mother) to meet her daughter under the administrator’s supervision.
Physical changes do not signify maturity, said the announcement. It was also advised that the minimum age for marriage — 18 years — should be made clear in the Muslim Laws Ordinance.
Sawera’s mother, Mumtaz bibi, had filed a kidnapping case for her daughter in May 2021. Sawera, however, had testified in the high court that she got married by choice.