LAHORE (Staff Report) – In 1927, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, representing Bombay city, had to fight a stiff battle with conservative Muslims in order to get the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 passed in united India.
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Mr. Jinnah was a member of the British Indian Legislative Assembly. The law fixed the legal age of marriage of girls at 15 and for boys at 18 for Muslims.
Underage marriage is a major concern among Muslims of the sub-continent, where child marriage is still considered acceptable.
However, things have, since then, become worse in the sub-continent: in March 2014, Pakistan moved to increase the marriageable age to 18 and 21, respectively. Just like in 1927, the mullahs opposed it but unlike earlier, this time they won – the bill is still in limbo.
Of course, as this shows, there is support for the move amongst women themselves but progress is barred by conservative Muslims and a state which prefers not to take them on.