In this podcast, SuPWR researcher Mahnaz Shujrah speaks with Karachi-based lawyer Rana Asif Habib about the debate around child marriage in Pakistan.
Keeping in mind “the best interest of the child”, Rana Asif Habib approaches the issue from the perspective of legal uniformity and international benchmarks. If anyone under the age of 18 years is considered a minor, then this should apply across the board to all laws related to children. Exceptions should not be made in the case of the child marriage law, and the consent of a minor cannot be deemed valid. He discusses the side effects of “allurement psychology”, how children are curious by nature and how that vulnerability can be exploited or abused. Sharing from his experience, he elaborates on the far-reaching consequences early marriages. He makes a clear distinction between “early marriage” and “forced marriage”, arguing that though these two issues may overlap at times, they are still two separate issues and the strategies to tackle them need to be made accordingly.
President of Initiator Human Development Foundation, Rana Asif Habib is a Karachi-based lawyer and Advocate High Court. He is member of Sindh High Court Bar Association, as well as a member of Karachi Bar Council. Additionally, he is vice chairman of International Peace Commission International and a member of Inspection Committee Prisons. His fellowships include Ashoka Fellow (USA), IVLP Fellow (USA) and CREP Fellow. He is a sociologist and a founding member of Child Rights Movement (CRM).
Listen to the podcast
This podcast is conducted primarily in Urdu.
Read the full transcript of the discussion in English.