Raise the minimum age of marriage for girls in Punjab, Pakistan to 18

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Child marriage is one of the greatest barriers to girl's development around the world. It deprives them of their freedom, their childhood, and often times even their lives. Child brides are forced to give birth before their bodies are ready, and much of the time, they don't survive it. This leads to, according to UNICEF, approximately 50,000 teenage girls per year dying during childbirth, These new young mothers are now responsible for nurturing and raising a child compromising on their basic health and education. Children born to these young mothers are in danger of infant mortality and other complications. And even when they make it through all of that, it forces them into an endless cycle of poverty that makes it impossible for them to access education.

UNICEF data says that in South Asia, nearly half of young women are married before their 18th birthday. Pakistan’s Child Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA), 1929 sets the legal age for marriage to 16 for girls and 18 for boys. Other than Sindh, where the legal age for girls was raised to 18 as well in 2013, the CMRA still applies to all other provinces, specifically Punjab. 

This is why I, as a volunteer for Bargad, am starting this petition to pursue the amendment of the CMRA to raise the legal age for marriage for girls to 18 in Punjab. The aim is to get 50,000 signatures and then present the petition to the Punjab Assembly to stop this injustice that is constantly happening around us in this province. In four months I turn 15, in a year 16. I am a child, everyone around me is a child, and barely miles away children my age are getting married LEGALLY and the law is not intervening. We deserve a future that is safe, that is secure, that lets us pursue our ambitions. 

Sign the petition and say no to child brides!