No Sikh has married under Pakistan SMA

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Islamabad, Apr 15 (UNI) No Sikh couple in Pakistan has, so far, married under the Sikh marriage Act 2008 approved by President Pervez Musharraf on January 16.

The act was replaced the Anand Marriage Act 1909 after Sikhs demanded that it be repealed since it did not cater to the requirements of their marriages.

Even as many Sikh couples tied the knot on Baisakhi, none of them were registered under the SMA, the Daily Times quoted Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) President Bishan Singh as saying yesterday.

Mr Singh said a delegation of Sikhs from across the world met Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, who assured that the government would resolve all problems of the Sikhs. He said the SMA needed to be amended and that no couple had applied to him to register their marriage under the act.

Former federal minister Afzal Haider had earlier announced that many Sikh couples would marry on the Baisakhi festival and their marriages would be registered under the SMA.

Pakistan is the first country in the world to have enacted a separate law to register Sikh marriages. The SMA addressed certain problems of Sikhs not considered by the Anand Marriage Act 1909 such as maintenance, custody of children, registration of marriage and alimony.

The Sikh Marriage Ordinance 2008 has 32 sections, which state various terms and conditions for Sikh marriages. The sections include issues such as restitution for conjugal rights, void and voidable marriages, grounds for dissolution of marriages (which include contracting another marriages and cruelty), divorce by consent, and a provision for legitimacy of children.

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