Legislation seeking to regulate the marriage of young girls has failed after a committee reaffirmed a 2014 decision calling it “un-Islamic” and “blasphemous” to Sharia law that governs Muslim conduct.

The proposed law would have set the legal age for marriage at 18 and imposed penalties on those who arranged for girls younger than that to be married.

Although the law in Pakistan currently sets the marriage age at 16, it is widely disregarded, with an estimated 20 percent of all marriages involve underage girls.

The Council of Islamic Ideology is a religious body created by the constitution of Pakistan to advise Parliament on compliance with the Muslim faith, and is the same group that recommended excluding DNA evidence in rape cases, relying instead upon the testimony of four witnesses on behalf of the victim.

The Islamic faith not only adheres to the word of its prophet, Muhammad, but holds him as a saint for the faithful, making his marriage to a six-year-old child and the consummation of the marriage when she was nine after years of sexual contact, an example of acceptable conduct.

Similar legislation failed in Niger where the number rises to over 75 percent, as well as in Yemen where a quarter of females are married before age 15 and the spectacle of an eight-year-old bride going to court to request a divorce from her husband, a man in his 30s.

Child marriage has come under scrutiny in the West as immigration has taken the practice to non-Muslim countries. What a disturbing thought.

World health and human rights organizations agree that child marriage presents a danger to young girls who are physically unready for pregnancy and childbirth, and note its devastating impact on child brides who are denied the opportunities of education and social contact.

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