A girl aged just five has reportedly been forced into marriage with a 22-year-old man in Pakistan.
Police were called to the ceremony in the village of Raman Shar near Dakhan Town but arrived too late to halt the marriage, according to Pakistani newspaper Dawn.
The groom was reportedly arrested along with his father and the registrar. The little girl is believed to have also been taken into custody along with her mother.
The newspaper reported that the child and her mother are also set to be prosecuted under the Child Marriages Restraint Act, which sets the minimum marriageable age of a female at 16.
Child, early and forced marriage is widespread in the Islamic country, although there is a lack of reliable data on the issue.
Some surveys have estimated that up to 30 per cent of “weddings” taking place in the country's Sindh province are forced, child marriages.
The charity Girls not Brides believes that 21 per cent of Pakistani women are married by the age of 18, often with little say in the matter.
The Pakistani National Assembly rejected a proposal to raise the minimum marriageable age for females to 18, in line with that for males.
In a recent series of widely criticised rulings, the Council of Islamic Ideology, a constitutional body which gives Islamic legal advice to the Pakistani Government, declared that laws prohibiting child marriage are un-Islamic.
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