Child Labor on the rise in Pakistan

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Pakistan is not among the countries where substantial efforts have been made to eliminate child labor

By Ali Nawaz Rahimoo

God has given human beings the boon of wisdom and discretion to think upon the signs of the universe and to draw conclusions. That is the reason why they disclose the hidden facts of it and its structure and have made remarkable progress in many walks of life. Children are the flowers of heaven. They are the most beautiful and purest creation of God. They are innocent both inwardly and outwardly. No doubt, they are the beauty of this world.

Early in the morning when the children put on different kinds of clothes and begin to go to schools for the sake of knowledge, we feel a specific kind of joy through their innocence. But there are also other children, those who cannot go to schools due to financial problems. They only watch others go to schools and can merely wish to seek knowledge. It is due to many hindrances and difficulties; desperate conditions that they face in life. Having been forced to kill their aspirations, dreams and other wishes, they are pressed to earn a living for themselves and for their families.

It is also a fact that there are many children who play a key role in sustaining the economic life of their family without which, their families would not be able to make ends meet. These are also part of our society who had forgotten the pleasures of their childhood. When a child, in addition to getting education, earns his livelihood, this act of earning a livelihood is called as child Labor.

The concept of child Labor got much attention during the 1990s when European countries announced a ban on the goods of the less-developed countries because of child Labor. It is an outcome of a multitude of socio-economic factors and has its roots in poverty, lack of opportunities, high rate of population growth, unemployment, uneven distribution of wealth and resources, outdated social customs and norms and plethora of other factors.

According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) the daily income of 65.5% people of Pakistan is below 2 U.S. dollars a day. If our country’s total population is leading life below the poverty-line wherein the people are deprived of basic necessities of life like clothing, shelter, food, education and medication, the children of these people will be forced to become Laborers or workers in order to survive. Another reason of child Labor in Pakistan is that our people don’t have the security of social life. There is no aid plan or allowance for children in our country. Class-based education system is another reason for increasing child Labor; villages lack standardized education systems and as a result, child Labor is on increase in rural areas. The government has not put its laws into practice to stop child Labor in the country. Employers after exploiting child Labor, extract a large surplus, whereas child Labor, despite increasing poverty, unemployment and other problems, are pressed to do anything and everything for their livelihood and the survival of their families. Child Labor is a complex problem which demands a range of solutions. There is no better way to prevent child Labor than to make education compulsory. The West understood this a long time ago. Laws were enacted very early to secure continued education for working children; and now they have gone a step forward, and required completion of at least the preliminary education of the child. According to ILO, the most extreme forms of child labor is when it involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious health hazards and illnesses. Pakistan is not among the countries where substantial efforts have been made to eliminate child labor, according to the organizations working for children’s rights. On the contrary, the country stands in the first row of those states where child labor is on the rise.

(Ali Nawaz Rhimoo writes from Umerkot)

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