Aspirations, dreams and wishes have no meaning. Hope has never grown and imagination is killed at a very early stage. Having been forced and pressed to produce a living for themselves and for their families, the tiny little hands struggling in sustaining the living of their family who would work very hard in making both ends meet. These children who grow up being forgotten the pleasure of their childhood are a neglected part of our society. This is referred as child labor and at such a young age instead of getting education they earn livelihood tolerating rudeness and disrespect at work and boorish behavior in the society.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines child Labor as:
1- When a child is working during the early age
2- He overworks or gives over time to Labor
3- He works due to the psychologically, socially, and materialistic pressure
4- He becomes ready to Labor on a very low pay
Pakistan is one of the countries where child Labor practices are not very uncommon. Child Labor in Pakistan are highly deprived of the pleasures of life, they have accepted the life as it is to them. They are unaware of their basic rights as a citizen and their non-access to education. It is not other than the outcome of some socio-economic factors which directly stands on the roots of poverty. Unemployment due to high rate of population growth and a plethora of other factors are giving rise to child Labors in our society. A considerable chunk of the population in Pakistan is living below the poverty line where the people are unable to fulfill their basic necessities of life like food, clothing, shelter, education and health safety, hence end up sending their young children to work on low wages in order to stay alive.
Class-based education system is a most debatable reason for increasing child Labor in Pakistan. In addition to increasing poverty, unemployment and other social problems, the rural areas are deprived of education and the trend of young children coming to cities to earn livelihood has become very usual. Although the government has not put its laws strict to stop child Labor but some well-known and active organizations are playing their role to stop this evil. Once these issues are addressed the concept of child Labor can easily be eradicated to a great extent. There is no other way to overcome this problem but to make education compulsory.
The western world has realized this issue long time ago and made laws to ensure education for working children. Our government should also take some initiatives in considering this global issue. Elementary education must be made compulsory and the matter of child Labor should be considered seriously. Now the expectations from new government are very high on educational reforms and to revamp the education system throughout the country.
The writer is a freelance journalist and Student of Media and Communication studies at International Islamic University Islamabad.
Published in The Balochistan Point on December 25, 2014