Byline: AATIF KHAN - Islamabad
Child marriage is a deeply harmful practice that disproportionately affects girls and has been likened to a culturally acceptable form of slavery that perpetuates or even legalizes child rape under the guise of marriage. Not only are young girls unable to pursue their fundamental right of completing their education, they are also subjected to difficult household work and responsibilities before they have even developed their full mental and physical capacities.
Moreover, underage girls go on to face health complications during and after childbirth. Seen as a financial 'burden' on their families, they are married off early to escape oppressive poverty, or they are used to settle disputes as if they were the property of adults to be bartered and sold, and not vulnerable individuals with rights of their own that need to be fiercely protected.