Child labour

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - TOOBA KHAN

Child labour is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­mon in Pak­istan, es­pe­cially in big cities like Karachi, in di­ver­si­fied strange forms. Nowa­days, child labour can be seen when you go out to shop or to eat or even to pick up your chil­dren from school, be­cause rich ladies now, do not just carry branded bags and other riches, now they have some­thing else ac­com­pa­ny­ing them: a child.

And no, it is not their own child, but some­body else’s whose par­ents are paid money so their child can go along­with these well-to-do ladies, around malls car­ry­ing heavy shop­ping bags that are often big­ger than his whole phys­i­cal ex­is­tence, and so that the same child can go to restau­rants with them and sit in a cor­ner and watch the ba­bies and the rich fam­ily eat­ing their lav­ish meal, and yes it’s the same kid who has to give up his own child­hood to take care of some­body else’s kids at home/school/ev­ery­where while the moth­ers pa­rade in heels and pre­tend to look busy and ar­range char­ity func­tions (be­cause it is a nice chance to dress up!) and can talk about peo­ple be­cause they have noth­ing bet­ter to do. This is be­yond hor­ren­dous. Sur­pris­ingly there are quite a few laws re­gard­ing child labour in Pak­istan, Chil­dren are not al­lowed to work be­fore the age of 14, and the state is obliged to pro­vide free and ‘com­pul­sory’ ed­u­ca­tion for all chil­dren up to the age of 16.

The pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion in this coun­try is a laugh­ing/cry­ing mat­ter but it is heart­break­ing to see the ef­fect it can have on these gen­tle lives. Had these kids been given the chance to ac­quire de­cent ed­u­ca­tion for free and if only it re­ally was made com­pul­sory in prac­tice, these chil­dren would not be the tar­get of of ridicu­lous treat­ment by the so-called ed­u­cated class. I fully and sanely hold the govern­ment responsible for these ill-fated child work­ers; had the govern­ment been more ef­fec­tive in im­ple­ment­ing the laws that they so care­fully draw, these chil­dren would not have been suf­fer­ing.

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