Despite national laws and international commitments, child marriage remains a real threat for many in Pakistan. According to the Pakistan Demographic and Household Survey (PDHS 2006-7), 13 percent of girls in the country are married by the time they are 15 and 40 percent by 18 years. 18% of Pakistani women have had their first birth by age 18; 9% have begun child bearing between 15-19 years and 7% are already mothers in those ages leading to one of the highest infant mortality rates in South Asia (PDHS 2006-7).
In 2012, a two-part study on the state of forced marriage was undertaken by Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) for its program on culturally-justified violence against women, supported by the Women’s Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation (WELDD) consortium. This report is the documentation of that study and was subsequently revised as WLUML’s submission to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for its report on preventing and eliminating child, early and forced marriage.