Society downplays seriousness of domestic child labour

KARACHI: Social rights activists and lawmakers highlighted on Saturday the plight of children subjected to labour and called for improved legislation on the matter, as well as budget allocations to curb the menace.

Addressing an online session titled ‘Debate on Elimination of All Forms of Child Labour’, organised by the Society for the Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA Riaz Fatyana said, “We, as a society, downplay the seriousness of child domestic labour. People see no harm in a seven-year-old girl babysitting a three-year-old child or looking after pets.”

The MNA emphasised the need to realise that children should not be made to work as domestic workers, pointing out that even if they survived the physical or sexual violence many of them face, the emotional stress would scar them for life.

“At this age, the only thing[s] a child should have are books and toys,” he remarked.

Child rights activist Kashif Mirza, while saying that the actual number of child labourers in Pakistan was unknown, mentioned a survey conducted by the Federal Bureau of Statistics and the National Child Labour, according to which approximately 19 million children below 14 years of age were working as labourers in Pakistan.

Mirza lamented that these children were made to work in unregulated conditions, without being provided proper food, wages and rest. Besides, they were also subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse, he added.

Sajjad Cheema of SPARC too raised concerns over the alarming rate of emerging cases of abuse against domestic child workers and called for placing a ban on hiring children as domestic help.

“We [frequently] get to hear about new cases of brutal torture and murders of helpless and innocent child workers, mainly young girls,” he remarked.

He noted that while Pakistan acknowledged the prevalence of forced labour, slavery and trafficking on paper, few practical steps were taken to put an end to the menace of domestic child labour.

Speaking along similar lines, Iqbal Detho of the National Human Rights Commission called for immediate governmental action for eliminating all forms of child labour. He suggested the inclusion of domestic child labour in the list of hazardous occupations under the Employment of Children Act, 1991, as well as the enactment of laws at the provincial and federal level for prohibiting child labour.

Moreover, he said, adult labourers too needed to be covered under support schemes introduced by the government so that they were prevented from sending their children to work.

2 soldiers martyred, 2 terrorists killed in North Waziristan

North Waziristan: Two security personnel were martyred and two others were injured, while two terrorists were also killed in three separate incidents in North Waziristan tribal district on Saturday.

Local sources said the first incident happened in Garyum area of tehsil Dosali in which two soldiers, including an officer, were martyred in a clash with terrorists. The martyred soldiers were identified as Captain Sabih and Sepoy Naveed.

The bodies of the fallen soldiers were shifted to hospital, while a search operation was launched in the area by the security forces.

Another clash happened in Mir Ali tehsil where two security personnel were injured and two terrorists were killed. The sources said the clash happened in Inayat Kot, Salam Kot and Khushali areas. The injured soldiers were identified as Sepoys Muhammad Sharif and Zaheer.

Two terrorists, including a commander, were also killed in the clash. The bodies of the slain terrorists were taken into custody by the security forces and the injured soldiers were shifted to hospital. A search operation was also launched in the entire area by the security forces after the incident.

The third incident also happened in Mir Ali where a vehicle of the security forces came under bomb attack.

Sources said the security forces vehicle was attacked with a remote control explosive device at Bypass Road near Kot Abdul Manan. No casualty happened in the incident. The security forces launched search operation in the area. However, there was no word about any arrest.

Militants were driven out from the tribal districts in military operations, but still terrorists sometimes attack the security forces from their leftover hideouts. The security forces also conduct intelligence-based operations after receiving credible information about presence of militants to ward off any threat of future attacks.

On June 11, security personnel were martyred in firing by unknown miscreants in Mir Ali sub-division. A security check post was also blown up in the same area in a separate attack.

The firing incident and attack on check post happened a day after two soldiers were martyred and four others were injured in a remote control bomb blast on the security forces in Miranshah.

FIA has arrested an accused involved in filming women during delivery in Karak

The FIA Cyber Wing Deputy Director Tahir Khan said the accused, Inamullah, was an anaesthesia technician at a private clinic. The clinic owner said he had immediately sacked the technician when he came to know about his acts. He said the accused then tried to blackmail him through the videos.

The FIA said it has recovered 42 videos from the accused. A case has been registered against the accused and further investigation is underway.