Child Labor in Pakistan
God has bestowed human beings with wisdom and knowledge to think upon the symbols of the universe and to draw conclusions accordingly. That is the reason why they unveil the hidden facts and arrangement of the universe and have made remarkable progress in many walks of life. Children are the flowers of paradise and the most beautiful, innocent and purest creation of God. They are innocent both inwardly and outwardly.
Early in the morning when a child gets ready for school at the same time there is a child who prepares himself for the undesirable forceful job due to the financial problems faced by his family and secretly watch the others go to school, carrying in heart the wish to seek knowledge and claim all the pleasures and benefits of being a child. These innocent children face many hindrances and difficulties; desperate conditions that they face in life. Having been forced to kill their childhood for- going all their dreams and aspirations they are pushed to earn a living for themselves and for their families. It is a fact that these children are also the ones who play a key role in sustaining the economic life of their family without which, their families would not be able to survive. When a child 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.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines child Labor as:
1- When a child is working during early age
2- He overworks or gives over time to Labor
3- He works due to the psychological, social, and materialistic pressures,
4- He becomes ready to Labor on a very low pay
“Child labor and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labor of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and child labor to the end of time.”
Child labor has become a major problem in most of the third world countries. Child labor in Pakistan is the employment of children for work, leading to physical, mental, moral and social harm to children. In the 1990s Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimated that 11 million children were working in the motherland, half of those below the age of ten. While in 1996, the average age for a child entering the work force was seven. The research showed that one quarter of the country’s work force consisted of child laborers.
Poverty is the greatest single cause behind child labor .The per-capita income of Pakistan is approximately $1900, an average middle class person makes about five dollars and that single working person carries the burden to feed nine or ten people with that five dollar. Above that, there is the high inflation rate to deal with and so it becomes tough to survive in such conditions when that on person now cannot feed and provide shelter to the whole family alone. These families left behind with no other option being helpless are forced to giving their children in to the hands of child labor in order to increase income to support their household. This activity of Child labor is scattered all over Pakistan, and shows the greatest impacts of its existence in Sialkot. Sialkot is a central place for the production of goods for export, especially sports goods. Child labor exists in both the domestic and export sectors of the economy in Pakistan. This issue has been well documented internationally, and it is known by every person that child labor is against Pakistan’s law, but neither the government nor anyone else chooses to work on it.
Now we can easily imagine in the light of above mentioned facts and figures how the nation’s future namely ‘children” are deprived of pleasures of life, ignorance has reduced their abilities of thinking right or differentiating between right and wrong, as well as their life-chances, to their non-access to education. It is true that child Labor is not an isolated phenomenon and this is not what the children of our country deserve.
Ayesha Tariq Qureshi