On March 10, 2017 Pakistan’s Senate passed Hindu Marriage Bill 2016 unanimously. Once signed by country’s president Mamnoon Hussain it will become a law.
This will be the first personal law to let country’s courts to regulate a Hindu marriage which was left to Hindu religious leaders (priests) until now to avoid accusation of Islamic persecution.
The bill will enable the Hindu community to get their marriages registered and to appeal in courts of law in cases of separation.
Clause 17 of the bill states that a Hindu widow “shall have the right to re-marry of her own will after a waiting period of six months.”
Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani member Pakistan’s National Assembly (it has 5 reserved seats for 1.6% Hindu population, 4 for Christians, 1 for Parsi and 60 for women) called the move a new year’s gift for Hindus living in Pakistan.
The bill was tabled in 2016 by Hindu MP Ramesh Vakvani and supported by Kamran Michael, Federal Minister for Human Rights.
The law will be applicable in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. The Sindh province, which is home to 7% of Hindu population, already has its own Hindu marriage law.
Some Indian Hindu experts are skeptical about the goodness of the Clause 17 – fearing that it would push a Hindu widow to convert to Islam or Christianity as traditionally no Hindu is expected to marry a widow (here).
I’m happy that bill allows a Hindu widow to remarry. Clause 17 of the bill states that a Hindu widow “shall have the right to re-marry of her own will and consent after the death of her husband provided a period of six months has lapsed after the husband’s death.”
I call it the real freedom of choice for Hindu widow considering there are over 34 million Hindu widows in India who cannot remarry.
Contrary to that, Islam allows a widow to remarry a Muslim male of her choice. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) set the tradition over 1400 years ago. His first wife Khadija (as) was not only a widow but 15 years older than him. After her death, he married one very old Muslim and two young Jewish widows.
Behind the anti-Muslim Zionist and Hindutva propaganda – both Christian (8%), Hindu, Sikh and Zoroastrianism (Parsi) minorities are free to practice their religions. They all have contributed to the progress of the country.
No Pakistani president or prime minister or Muslim religious leader like Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Netanyahu or Geert Wilder has called expulsion or banning of Hindus or Christians to visit Pakistan.
The religious tolerance in Pakistan can be measured by the fact that Muslim students are found in almost every Christian school and college while it would be a miracle to meet a Christian, Jew or Hindu student in a Muslim school in the West.