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Law banning extravagant weddings challenged in Pak court

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Lahore: A plea was on Saturday filed in a Pakistani court challenging provincial Punjab government’s new law aimed at discouraging ostentatious marriage functions by regulating wedding ceremonies to ensure “austerity and simplicity.”

The law adopted by the Punjab Assembly this week bans serving of more than one dish, display of fireworks and dowry during the ceremonies, and is punishable by imprisonment of up to a month and a fine up to Rs 20 lakhs.

Advocate Pir Ali Gilani challenged the ‘Punjab Marriage Functions Act 2016’ in the Lahore High Court, saying it was a “sheer violation of people’s rights”.

“The government cannot regulate the marriage or other functions at homes as the new law amounts to intruding in the private lives of the people of Punjab,” he said.

The petitioner said that VIPs, including the Prime Minister and his family, do not follow any such regulations but is only being imposed upon poor people.

He said the law could be misused and prayed to the court to declare this law null and void in order to protect the rights of the people of Punjab.

According to the bill, any street, road or a place other than the building where the event is being held, shall not be decorated while organising a marriage.

It also binds that all wedding functions should be concluded before 10pm, ban on use of fireworks and display of firearms, or cause nuisance or disturbance in the area.

If the law is violated, the trial would be held by a First Class Magistrate.

The government has decided to constitute one or more committees to enforce the law with the help of police. The law has generated a debate whether the government was trying to ‘overmanage’ family lives through such lawmaking.

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