Islamabad: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) parliamentary leader Senator Sherry Rehman’s proposed amendment to the Child Marriage Restraint Act was unanimously passed by the Functional Committee in Senate on Wednesday. Rehman, talking about the salient features of the amendment said, “The amendment to the Child Marriage Restraint Act which will extend to Islamabad Capital Territory, if passed, will classify anyone below the age of 18 as a child. It will also ban marriage before 18 and declare it a non-cognisable and non-compoundable act. Sindh has already passed a law making the age of marriage consent and childhood 18 years, so we are hoping that this will send a positive message to other provinces as well”. The former Senate opposition leader went on to say that, “Pakistan ranks number two in the world when it comes to the number of child marriages. That is the disturbing reality. Everyone should be made aware of the negative impact child marriages have on Pakistani families, particularly on their health and standard of living. This menace has already caused enough damage and will continue to ruin the next generation if not immediately stopped”. The Senator added, “I would like to extend my gratitude to the human rights committee members, committee chairman Mustafa Khokar and Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari for passing this important amendment. I am also glad to share that all political parties have come together and are on the same page regarding this crucial legislation”. “We are now waiting for the National Assembly to form their committees for review and recommendations. The delay this is creating for lawmakers is truly frustrating. Six months into government and key committees are still not operational. How is the parliament supposed to function and carry out its duties? Young women and their children are at risk every single day that this amendment sits in parliament. I hope that the necessary committees are constituted as soon as possible,” she said.