Child Labor in Pakistan

(Saifullah, Peshawar)

CHILD LABOUR IN PAKISTAN

What is child Labor?
Child labor means employment of children at regular basis. It harms children and keeps them away from school. This practice is considered exploitative by nearly all countries around the world and is considered illegal. Some International Organizations working on Human Rights also condemn this practice.

But, around the world in general and in Pakistan in particular, growing gaps between the rich and poor in recent decades have forced millions of young children out of school and pushed them into work. According to an estimate of International Labor Organization 246 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 currently work under conditions that are considered illegal, hazardous, or extremely exploitative. Underage children work at all sorts of jobs around the world, usually because they and their families are extremely poor. Large numbers of children work in commercial, agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, mining, and domestic services. Some children work in illicit activities like the drug trade and prostitution.

Child Labor: situation in Pakistan
In Pakistan, It is seen that parents threaten their children when they find relief from school and get engaged in sports. They instruct their children to devote more time to education than sports. The parents wish their children grow with better education so that they attain high ranks in the society. They give them examples of those children who work in the workshops that if they’ll not learn, then the besmeared cloths and black hands and face will definitely be their final destination.

Unfortunately, every government after coming into power promises for the improvement of education standard and bringing poverty in to end but their promises become ruins after some time. This situation becomes more destructive when the small children are seen as Suzuki and bus cleaners. Those children who should have books and pens in their hands are holding screwdrivers and pliers and repair punctures in tires and tubes. Normally these children are seen on general bus stands. Their conditions seem defaced and hands and faces smeared with mobile oil.

NGOS working against the child labor always hold meetings in air conditioned rooms of five star hotels but they they’ve not taken a single step for the improvement of these distressed children. Some International Organizations provide funds for the change in the lives of these cruelly treated children but no dramatic change has been recorded so for. No true proof is available to show that the number of begging or polishing children is reduced. If the Govt. officials and NGOs study the miseries of the children working on the General Bus Stand Peshawar alone, the secrets of their claims will open.

The story of these distressed children does not come to end only with the study of General Bus Stand Peshawar. Look at the other bus stands in the city like Dala Zak road, Wakho pul, Bacha Khan Chowk, Shoba Bazaar and Syphon Chowk. If we try to study the future of these children then we understand that those children who repair punctures and voice for the passengers in Suzukies and buses will surely face a dark future.

Child Labor: Causes of Child Labor in Pakistan
The question arises, who’s responsible for bringing these children to miserable life? Their Parents, Educational Institutions, States, Civil Society or their poor financial conditions

To investigate the causes of Child labor in Pakistan, we need to understand the different classes of people living in this country.

Pakistan has three classes of people. Rich, Middle and the Poor class

The Rich Class children enjoy their life to the best. They get good education, wear good cloths and enjoy finest food. They’ve all facilities for their recreation and personal growth. But the Rich Class parents are very careful about their wealth. They hesitate to donate for the Social Welfare. Some times some people participate in Social Welfare activities but they do this for just to polish their Political or Business image. They’re normally interested to introduce their status or products in the society but not to push a poor child to a bright future. But this is quite a different topic we can discuss it at some other time. For the moment we stop it here. However, political efficacy is one of the causes of our educational backwardness which causes Child Labor. Political efficacy has full control over educational and employment opportunities.

The second class is the Middle Class People. This class is actually poor class but we call it the Middle Class People. They’re the sinking class people. They wish to get out of this whirlpool but fail to penetrate the secured shield of the Rich Class and their control over the resources and employment opportunities. This situation keeps them in the financial whirlpool and hence they find themselves unable to send their children to Standard Educational Institutions. Sometimes some people succeed to approach to good opportunities but at the cost of high bribes.

Now we come to the third class of people. They’re depressed people and live beyond the poverty line. Their number is bigger than the second class people. They’ve no right of good living, they’ve no power and approach to any department and they’ve no sources of income.

Their children never go to school neither they get fine cloths nor eat good food. They simply collect scrap from the streets, polish shoes of Rich Class People, repair punctures, work in houses, work in Suzukies and buses as cleaners and many sell toffees and chocolates on the bus stands. While some beg just to support their family members.

MSWO’s Survey
According to a recent survey made by MSWO (Madadgar Social Welfare Organization), about 20% of the population is rich and they enjoy good living. About 30% of the population is Middle Class but they’re also poor. Because the high prices and low wages have broken their back bone. 50% of the total population is those who live beyond the poverty line. This study shows that in Pakistan, more than half of the population is poor. It means that 80% children are facing child labor in one or the other way.

We understand this is quite a terrible situation. But this is not the end of the story. In this article, we’ve taken Peshawar as a sample city of Pakistan. This city has a unique status. It’s the state of conflict between the Taliban and the local peace loving people. This bloody conflict has left many children homeless, many lost their parents, many died and thousands lost their body parts. Employment opportunities are zero because of the tight control of the central mechanism of politics. Self employment and business like circumstances are completely destroyed. What’ll happen when this situation arises? Child Labor!

We love your comments and suggestions. Please leave your comments below.

Saifullah

President,
Madadgar Social Welfare Organization

Note:
Madadgar Social Welfare Organization (MSWO) provides Free Education to Orphans and Free Vocational Training to Widows.
One school and one vocational training center are being managed by MSWO. Those interested to seek admission in any school can apply to:

1. Principal Akhwan-e-Mutahidda Public School (AMPS) for Academic education or
2. Principal Madadgar Vocational Training Center (MVTC) for vocational training

Let’s put hands in hands with MSWO to help fight against Child Labor in the South and South-West of Peshawar. The fight has already been started and any one can join as volunteer, donor, teacher, technical trainer, doctor or a good word speaker. Because
Even a good word is charity

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آپ کی رائے
Of course it's a nice article on child labor. The political role and the role of NGO's has really infected the lives of children.

By: Abasin, Peshawar on Jul, 01 2011
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