By Ravinder Singh Robin
Amritsar, Jan 23 : Sikh Diaspora has hailed Pakistan Cabinet's approval of the Sikh Marriage Ordinance 2008.
Now, Sikhs can get their marriages registered in Pakistan under the ordinance.
Pakistan has become the first country to enact a separate law for registration of Sikh marriages.
Speaking to Asian News International over phone, Pakistan Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Syed Afzal Haider, said Pakistan's Federal Cabinet on Tuesday approved the Sikh Marriage Ordinance 2008.
In all, 27 Federal Ministers, including Caretaker Prime Minister Mohammadian Soomro, had singed the ordinance.
Under the ordinance any Sikh couple could come here from any part of the world to get their marriage registered, Haider said.
The Pakistan government has specified six places, including Nankana Sahib, Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad, Peshawar and Lahore, for solemnising Sikh marriages under the ordianance.
He said the law comprehensively addresses the grievances of the Sikh community relating to solemnisation of marriage; divorce; legitimacy of children of voidable marriages; alimony and maintenance, custody and maintenance of children; and registration of marriages, which were not mentioned in the Anand Marriage Act 1909.
The Minister said that the law would become operational in a day or two after being endorsed by President Pervez Musharff, presently on a foreign visit.
Welcoming Pakistan government's decision of making law for Sikh marriages according to the Sikh code of conduct, Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, the high priest of Akal Takhat, congratulated Pakistan and the Sikh organisations.
However, Vedanti said that Indian government should also follow Pakistan in enacting a similar law, as a majority of the Sikh community lives in India.
Dr. Pritpal Singh, Convener, American Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (AGPC), said that the ordinance would certainly aim at welfare of the community and giving a legal sanctity to their distinct identity.
Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (PSGPC) President Bishan Singh said many Sikh couples would come to Pakistan for getting their marriages registered, especially during Baisakhi celebrations. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) President Avtar Singh Makkar also hailed the ordinance.