The lower house of parliament in Pakistan has passed a bill giving its small Hindu minority the right to register marriages.
Activist say that Hindu women have been targeted for abduction, rape and force conversion because their marriages were never recognised in court.
According to Reuters, the National Assembly passed the bill on Monday after ten months of deliberation. The Senate is expected to pass the law without further delay.
The new law sets the minimum Hindus marriage age at 18. Breaking the law would result in 6 months jail time and $47 fine.
Zohra Yusuf, head of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said the proof of marriage would offer greater protection to Hindu women. “Once marriages are registered, at least they have certain rights that are ensured” she said.