At least 708 girls and boys observed early marriages or forced marriages in Pakistan during the year 2013. 264 such cases were recorded in Punjab, 199 cases took place in Sindh, and 143 cases were reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while 102 cases happened in Balochistan. This information was revealed by Madadgar Helpline founder Mr. Zia Ahmad Awan during a conference “Addressing Gender Base Violence: Focusing on early and forced marriages in Pakistan”.
According to Mr. Zia Ahmed Awan, 684 such cases were reported back in year 2012. Forced marriage cases were 276 in 2012 while in 2013 this number increased to 284 in the year 2013. According to Mr. Awan, these are the cases that are reported by media, while the actual number could be much higher. At this occasion Mr. Awan highlighted laws in Pakistan and outer world that forbid parents to marry their children and even couples who are under 18 years of age cannot get married before they are 18 years old.
Zia Ahmed Awan highlighted the fact that during natural disasters, many families get displaced from their homes and during this period of displacement, they consider girls a burden and in order to send them to a safer place or to get rid of them, they marry them regardless of their age. He mentioned that every religion including Islam has allowed girls by giving them the rights to get married on free will.
Zahida Hashim and a senior official of Madadgar, Samreen Naz indicated that flaws in our laws help the people involved in forced marriages get away easily.