Lahore: A provincial assembly in Pakistan on Wedesday created history by unanimously passing a bill that will provide legal status to Sikh marriages in the Muslim-majority country.
The Punjab Assembly unanimously passed the Punjab Sikhs Anand Karaj Marriages Act 2017. This is the first time that family matters of the community, such as marriage, will be separately regulated.
The bill was on Wedesday tabled by minority member Punjab Assembly (MPA) Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora. The passage of the bill has repealed the Anand Marriage Act, 1909 that was passed under British rule. The bill will come into force immediately after it has been approved by the governor. Once the bill has been approved, every Sikh marriage that took place before the bill came into force would also gain legal status. MPA Arora said that Pakistan is the only country in the world that register Sikh marriages after the enactment of this bill. Previously, the records of Sikh marriages were maintained in a Gurdwara.
"The passage of the bill is a result of 'Punjabi-Sikh' friendship, Arora told reporters outside the assembly.
He said on Wedesday is a historic day for the Sikh community living in Pakistan.
"It is the first time the family laws of Sikhs are regulated separately in Pakistan and all credit is given to the Punjab government. It was necessary to define the law in order to regulate solemnisation and dissolution of Sikh marriages,