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Minister blames police for failure to save child marriage victims

By Our Staff Correspondent 2022-07-22
HYDERABAD: Sindh Minister for Women Development Shehla Raza has urged police should register FIRs under Child Marriage Act and admitted that since police`s role in such cases is not usually neutral and unbiased most victims cannot be saved in time.

She urged parents to raise voice against kidnapping of under-aged girls to protect them against forced marriages and said that parents must break taboos of society and need not to get afraid of raising voice if unfortunately their minor girls were kidnapped for forced marriage.

She was speaking to journalists at a `safe house` for women in distress here on Thursday.

She said that according to parents of Umme Hania, she was just 11 years old and could not opt for a free-will marriage.

They insisted hers was a case of kidnapping plain and simple, she said.

She said that Pakistan United Legal Alliance had filed an application under Section 491 in the Hyderabad circuit bench of the Sindh High Court for the airl`s recoverv.She said that police should register FIRs under Child M a r r i a g eActs in such cases but regretfully police role had not been observed as neutral and unbiased. Therefore, most of the time victim could not be saved in time due to police negligence, she said.

She said in answer to a question about Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf`s election victory in Punjab that morally speaking, PTI lost the election as its allegation that Election Commission of Pakistan was biased had proved wrong, she said.

She claimed that Sindh government had executed record development works in the province and allocated Rs126 billion for development schemes in present budget.

PTI could never win an election in Sindh, she said.

The minister also visited a safe house in Matiari and discussed issues of its management with the administration.

She told journalists that safe houses for women in distress had been established in 20 districts of the province. Women would be kept here and provided protection as well as first aid facilities. Any woman in such cases would be kept in safe house for 48hours before beingproduced before sessions judges concerned, she said.

She said that women would get legal advice from a non-governmental organisation. Complaint centres were also set up in safe houses where women could lodge their complaints. A helpline 1094 had been established by the department through which women could seek assistance, she said.