Extracting forced labour from workers
UNFORTUNATELY, ours perhaps is the only country in this modern era where forced or bonded labour still exists in complete disregard of the Constitution. Lahore High Court’s Tuesday judgment ordering the release of forty five kiln workers including women and children who were recovered from a Daska kiln once again reminds us the plight of hundreds of thousands of browbeaten bonded labourers who because of their extreme poverty never get themselves free from the evil clutches of this modern day slavery.
Though bonded labour has been outlawed in the country in line with the UN conventions on human rights but regrettably according to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, 2,058,200 people are enslaved in Pakistan. This is prevalent in various sectors of the economy most notably brick kilns, agriculture, carpet weaving and probably many others. Geographically speaking, the most widespread bonded labour is found in the southern parts of the Provinces of Sindh and Punjab; nevertheless, anecdotal evidence suggests that it has its tentacles in all the Federating units. Recently, the Punjab government claimed to have taken steps towards eradicating this menace and also issued Punjab Prohibition of Child Labour at Brick Kilns Ordinance 2016 but the recovery of bonded labourers from Daska kiln manifest that nothing practical is being done on the part of authorities concerned to address the issues that lie at the root of this problem. Desperately poor families are entangled in the vicious cycle of bonded labour when the feudal employers trick them into taking a loan. Subsequently all the family members including children, are forced to work for long hours for little or no pay often for seven days a week in order to repay the debt which in most of the cases never decreases and simply passes from one generation to the next. Intimidation and violence including chaining the family members are used to prevent people escaping this form of slavery. Those holding workers in servitude are hardly prosecuted or punished. Moreover, workers who contest their exploitation are invariably confronted with police harassment, often leading to imprisonment under false charges. This is something that is unheard of in any civilized society. We, therefore, will urge the Federal and Provincial govs to implement the relevant laws and take practical steps towards freeing the society once and for all from this curse.
AMID the present climate of misgivings and misapprehen sions in both Washington and Islamabad, one thesis holds much leverage, that after its best utilization of Pakistani partnership during the Cold War , the post Cold War, and the post 9/11 periods; the US is now trying to wield ‘strategic diversion’, thereby limiting the scope of its strategic relationship with Islamabad. This development is by no means a good news for the US-Pak relationship since the new trajectory unveils more ‘perils than its merits’. Given that complex scenario, the question arises here is: can the present or the future government in the White House afford ‘to lose an old ally’— Pakistan? Understandably, to trace this answer, requires an examination into the morphing chemistry of this ‘geopolitical-cum-geostrategic relationship’.
Since the early 1950s, Pakistan has worked with the United States via Pakistan Army and intelligence services to advance US strategic interests. During the hot period of the ‘Cold War’ era, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan 1979-1989,Pakistani government did everything to defend the American interests in the region, unfortunately the price of which Pakistan is still cultivating in terms of sheltering the millions of Afghan refugees. Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Washington again expected from Pakistan security forces to defeat the Taliban government and drive alQaeda out of Afghanistan.
As for Pakistan, it has its own ‘strategic priorities’ that it pursues reasonably clearly and that the US should
THE devastating socio-eco nomic impacts of the wars serve as catalysts for chronic political instability and insecurity. Contemporary history has witnessed civil and regional wars, ravaging countries of Middle East, West Africa, Eastern Europe and Afghanistan to the scale of irreparable losses and constant threat to development and international security. For 20 years after the end of the cold war, deadly conflict was in decline.
However the last few years that positive trend went into reverse, and each year since has seen more conflict, more victims and more people displaced. So it is war that has challenges to the global & regional peace, stability and the worst humanitarian’s consequences: Syria and Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Yemen and the lake Chad Basin. It includes those in influential and functioning states, like Turkey, as well as those that have collapsed, like Libya. It features conflicts that are already bad but are poised to get much worse without intelligent intervening, such as Burundi, as well as tensions, such as those in the South China Sea, that are simmering but have yet to boil over.
There have recently been numerous civil wars and conflicts going in Africa, some of which are still going on. Angola, Burundi, Congo, DRC, Ethiopia, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Zimbabwe, all have undergone and involved in civil wars. No less than
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