Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Pakistan province outlaws child marriage
Violators face three years in prison
- ucanews.com reporter, Karachi
- April 29, 2014
Lawmakers in Pakistan's Sindh province yesterday unanimously passed a new law, prohibiting marriage of children below 18 years of age.
The Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Bill recommends three years imprisonment for bridegrooms and parents found guilty of violating the law.
Sindh Minister for Social Welfare Rubina Sadat Qaimkhani, who tabled the bill, hailed it as a historical initiative for the province, where the ratio of child marriage is very high compared to other provinces.
Speaking at the assembly, Qaimkhani thanked all parliamentary parties, civil society and women's rights organizations for their support and guidance.
"Child marriages were being contracted in violation of the rights of children and international obligations," she said.
"Enforcement of the law will be equally vital if we want to save young girls being subjected to injustice," Syed Sardar Ahmed, a lawmaker, told the house.
Abdul Rahim Moosvi, provincial coordinator of Adolescent Girls Empowerment, whose group was involved in the consultation process for the bill, said the legislation is just a first step; the real challenge will be to ensure its implementation at the rural level.
According a study conducted by Shirkat Gah, a local NGO, about 30 percent of girls younger than 18 in Sindh are married, he said.
"Child marriages lead to a high mortality rate and other medical complications. It denies girls the right to complete their education," he said.
The bill comes amid a recommendation by the country's official body of Islamic scholars which ruled that children of any age could be married after reaching puberty.
The Council of Islamic Ideology declared that laws related to minimum age of marriage were un-Islamic and should be abolished. The recommendations were criticized by women activists.