ISLAMABAD - In Pakistan child marriages even at an age below 16 are allowed despite the country being a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Children that defines a marriage below the age 18 as child marriage.

Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) in collaboration with Rutgers WPF, Pakistan and Preston University organised a seminar to address and highlight adverse effects of child marriages in Pakistan here on Wednesday.

Dr. Munazza Haris from Rutgers WPF, Pakistan, in her presentation discussed about the young people's reproductive health issues arising from child marriages. Unfortunately, early marriage has adverse effects on child and it leaves them physically and socially vulnerable to illness, poverty, and gender inequality. It increases the risk for depression, sexually transmitted infections, cervical cancer, malaria, obstetric fistulas, and maternal mortality.

Dr. Shazia Khalid from Preston University, Islamabad, highlighted the global scenario on child marriages including prevalence and causes of child marriages.

She also talked about the challenges of child marriages in Pakistan and the efforts launched by the Government of Pakistan to combat the issue.

In continuation of the seminar, team of United Global Organization of Development performed a theater on early child marriages. Access, Service and Knowledge (ASK) programme is being implemented in 7 countries (Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Indonesia, and Pakistan) designed on a holistic understanding of the factors that influence young people's sexual and reproductive health and rights.