Long road to children rights


No doubt Pakistan has made progress in passing laws, but it lags behind in the implementation of these statutes for one reason or the other. Lately, the Punjab Assembly has passed a bill on prohibition of child labour at brick kilns, and regulation of labour at these places with stringent punishments both for parents and brick kiln owners. Under this bill, no brick kiln owner is allowed to employ, engage or permit a child less than 14 years of age to work at the brick kiln. The bill states that ‘child’ means a person who has not completed 14th year of age. It also states that a parent or guardian who permits the child to work at a kiln shall be jointly and equally liable for the offence. Moreover, every engagement or appointment of a worker at a kiln shall be subject to a written contract in the prescribed form between the worker and occupier (brick kiln owner) showing the terms and conditions of his employment or engagement, including the amount of advance, the amount of wage and the payback schedule of the advance.
The contents of the bill promise protection against the menace of child labour but measures need to be taken to put proper infrastructure in place to ensure the implementation of the law. Already, there is no shortage of laws for citizens on how to live in society, but it is an unfortunate fact that not much importance is ascribed to implementation of law.
These are the concerns that have not been addressed after so many years. The menace of child labour is still there while the exploitation of workers has been going on unabated. They have no rights and are treated like an inferior creature at workplaces. Many child labourers work in the open under the scorching heat where they are not even allowed to take a brief respite from their hard work. The practice is also driven by economic necessity and the disincentive provided by a wholly inadequate schooling system, a situation that remains unchanged. The solution lies in setting up of more and more schools with free education for the children of the poor. Revolutionary measures need to be taken. Thee should be a governmental mechanism in place to ensure that parents get their children admitted in schools.