ISLAMABAD: Ali Nawaz Awan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Capital Development Authority (CDA) Affairs, said on Friday that after 15 days in Islamabad, union councils will begin registering marriages of religious minorities for the first time.
As a notice has been given in this respect, this persistent problem has been fixed,” he said.”
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Mr Awan, who is also an MNA from Islamabad, told Dawn that religious minorities in Islamabad were facing problems because their marriages were not registered in union councils because they were unable to plan family trees.
He said earlier that there was no system for granting marriage and divorce certificates and this issue caused difficulties for the Christian community in particular. In compliance with the Muslim Family Law of 1961, which only deals with the settlement and registry of Nikah and the divorce of Muslims, the arbitration council under the capital administration functions.
He said that there are tens of thousands of people belonging to religious minorities, mainly Christians, living in separate slums, industries and rural areas of the city, facing issues related to their data.
In other cities, but not in Islamabad, a decision of the Supreme Court in this regard has already been enforced,” he said, adding that he had promised the minorities during his election campaign that he would solve their problems.”
“I have fulfilled my promise to register marriage certificates, while they will also take other initiatives for their welfare,” he said.
The notice released on 16 December by the Chief Commissioner’s Office stated: “The competent authority has been pleased to appoint an Assistant Director….ICT/Chairman of the Arbitration Council to act as an ICT Administration Authorized Officer.”
In order to begin registration/issuance of Christian marriage certificates in Nadra CRMS format in rural ICT areas through Union Councils on the same analogy of Muslim marriages, the approved officer shall complete all codal formalities. Draft of a new MoU for new nature of updated proposal/procedure, Nadra’s Christian/minority marriage registry contract to better satisfy minorities, it said Last year, Mr. Awan and Shunila Ruth jointly took up the issue via a calling notice in the National Assembly. The assembly referred the case to the Ministry of the Interior, which backed the notice calling for attention and ordered the Chief Commissioner of Islamabad to take the appropriate steps.
Asked when the union councils will begin registration of minority marriages, the SAPM said The problem is solved.” The notice was released and the UCs will start registering the marriages after publishing documents. After 15 days, I will ensure that they begin the procedure,’ he said. Christian couples were expected to register their marriages with the marriage registrar appointed under the Christian Marriage Act 1872 in the absence of any system. Therefore in the churches of Islamabad, numerous marriage registrars were appointed.