Monday, July 31, 2017

Pakistan - Why do we still have child labour?

By Shagufta Gul
“Child labour and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labour of children as the treatment of social disease of poverty you will have both poverty and child labour to the end of time” — Grace Abbot
A 16 year old domestic worker Akhter Ali was found dead in Lahore in his employer’s house. He and his sister have been working for Fauzia, daughter of PML-N MPA Shah Jahan. It is confirmed after the post-mortem that the boy was beaten to death with the help of a sharp weapon.
A similar case came to the fore in January 2017 when a probe was initiated against a judge and his wife in Islamabad for keeping a juvenile housemaid in wrongful confinement. The father of the victim later forgave the couple for what they did. The recent in the series of such cases is of a well known anchorperson accused of incarcerating and torturing a child domestic worker. The evidence is in the form of many audio recordings viral on social media. We believe that there must be hundreds of other cases which haven’t been reported yet and the employed children must be going through the same treatment.
Why are we still unable to control the challenge of child labour? Is there a lack of interest on part of the state? Is the society not truly educated on a child and juvenile’s rights? Are the feudal and their desire to rule the weak stronger than the efforts made for child protection? Is the awareness about child rights ineffective and insufficient at different levels of education?
Why are we still unable to control and cope up with the challenge of child labour? Is there a lack of interest on part of the state? Is society not truly educated on child and juvenile rights? Are the feudal and their desire to rule the weak stronger than the efforts made for child protection? The first and core reason is the lack of awareness among masses about the rights of a child, prohibition and illegality of child labour and little knowledge of the penalties and punishments for the illegal act.
As mentioned earlier, even the educated lot and the advocates of human rights and child rights are practically involved in violating the existing laws in urban areas as has been witnessed in the aforementioned cases.
There have been many campaigns on a regular basis to educate the people on family planning on print and electronic media, and the anti-planning campaign is equally rigorous. A very effective counter strategy was needed to handle but we usually we get late in such situations.
Thirdly, a boy and a girl child, particularly in rural and some of the urban areas, are seen differently. The boy is considered as the symbol of strength and honour. It is thought the more male offspring, the stronger you are.
Pakistan ranks 107 among 118 countries as per 2016 global hunger Index with 22 percent of population undernourished till the baby boy arrives. It is preferred by the average and below average families to let the boys and girls earn for them, as sending them to school is beyond reach. Sometimes they are handed over to the families away from their own home and parents to work. The wages paid are very nominal in certain cases plus the treatment as we already can be termed as a form of modern slavery.
As a society, child labour and challenges related to it are taken as a routine stuff as majority of the people are practically being facilitated by these little labourers. There are different civil society organisations engaged in child rights protection, but that again lacks coherence and continuity. The dilemma with civil society organisations is that though at times they are working for the same cause but the efforts are diverged rather than converged.
State really needs to think seriously how to protect the future of the nation. Pakistan is a part of international obligations like United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) sustainable development Goals (SDG) Conventions on International Labour Organisation (ILO) which stresses upon the elimination and eradication of all and worst forms of child labour. It seems at times that certain elements are scared to share the rights particularly of women and children. Our books at all levels do talk about human rights lets specifically talk about a child’s rights. Legislation can only be empowered by effective implementation, plus rigorous awareness campaigns on a regular basis will help.
Civil society organisations in collaboration with media can help a lot in raising awareness among masses on child rights. We have initiatives like Zamong Kor in Peshawar for the street children. We, as individuals, have to discourage child labour practically to protect the rights of our children.

Pakistan - Imran told me about plans of dissolving parliament: Hashmi

Senior politician Javed Hashmi, formerly associated with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, said on Monday that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had informed him of his plans to dissolve the parliament during the 2014 Islamabad sit-in.
Speaking to the media in Multan, Hashmi said that his statements are under oath before the nation. 
Hashmi said that Imran earlier said that after departure of Justice Tassaduq Jilani, the upcoming judges would break the parliament.
“Imran told me that judges after Tassaduq Gilani would dissolve the parliament. He (Imran) said parliament would be dissolved after that,” Hashmi said. 
Then Nawaz would resign too, Hashmi quoted Imran as saying. He added that the PTI chief said that elections would take place in September and his party would be able to form government.
“Imran Khan can contradict whatever I am saying after taking oath,” said Hashmi.
Hashmi alleged that PTI leaders Arif Alvi and Shireen Mazari told him that Imran was ready to attack the parliament.
“They (PTI leaders) appeared quite concerned, they asked me to make Imran understand,” said the senior politician.
He further said that he was offered not to resign from PTI and form a forward bloc of the party.
Hashmi added that he denied the offer, saying that he wasn’t there to end Imran’s party.
The former PTI leader also said that he is not wishful of any rank or position, adding that he always prayed to stay on the path of righteousness.

Pakistan - Imran Khan has to declare a lot

Pakistan Peoples Party leader Saeed Ghani in a rejoinder to Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan’s remarks against former President Asif Ali Zardari has said that an appeal is being heard in Supreme Court against Imran Khan in which he has failed to produce money trail and soon will be declared disqualified for public office.
Saeed Ghani said Asif Ali Zardari was kept in prison for over 11 years and not a single allegation was proved against him. He was acquitted honorably by the courts. He said that Imran Khan had bartered Pakistan’s interest for money in the past when he accepted Kerry Packer’s offer to play in Kerry Packer cricket series in Australia.
Mr. Ghani said that Imran Khan will have to produce not only the money trail but also his blood trail so that everything comes out in the open as black and white. He will have to declare the asset which is for a Ghairatmand person is the biggest asset of his life
Saeed Ghani said that Imran Khan is an arrogant individual and people still remember the incident at Niaz Stadium Hyderabad when he had kicked a small kid who wanted his autograph. Imran Khan should also recall that his father Ikramullah Khan Niazi was terminated from Government service on corruption charges. Imran Khan wants a new Pakistan for hypocrites but PPP will never allow him to do so, Saeed Ghani concluded.