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'Baji, open the door, I'm dying in here'

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She is locked up in a cold washroom. Her weak cries for help escape from the windows in the dead of night, and fall mostly on deaf ears. Her miserable life will continue, thanks to the apathy of the neighbours, until the day she will likely die an 'accidental' death.

In the heart of Rawalpindi Cantonment, a young maid of no more than 12 years is a victim of abuse and neglect. She cries for hours for help on some nights.

I listened to her helplessly the first time.

Tonight, I called the police.

I am visiting Rawalpindi these days. I woke up to a child's cries for help before the Fajr prayers on December 24.

It was the 12th of Rabi ul Awwal, a day of celebrations and thanksgiving to commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). I could hear the pre-dawn canon fire, probably in honour of the special day. But that was not all I heard.

Piercing through the silence of the cold winter night were the cries for help.

"Baji, open the door, I'm dying in here"

I walked out in the veranda trying to determine the source of the shouts. By that time, my hosts had also woken up. We turned on the external lights and stood outside the neighbour's washroom from where the child's cries emerged.

My hosts told me that the crying child is most likely the underage maid in the neighbour's house. The neighbours are tenants hailing from central Punjab. My hosts knew of other domestic workers that had left because of the neighbours' ill treatment. This one was too young to leave on her own, or to defend herself. She could only cry herself to sleep in a locked, cold washroom.

I took my host and the street's night watchman with me and knocked at the neighbour's door on December 24. It was 5am.

Despite my repeated loud knocks, no one came to the door. By that time, the child had stopped crying.

Also read: Child abuse: Cruel numbers, toothless laws

Last night, the same episode repeated. The child started crying around 2:30am.

I called out to the child asking her to respond. She didn't.

I called out to the neighbours. They played deaf.

In the meanwhile, the child continued crying for help.

"Baji, open the door, I'm dying in here"

I searched the Internet for an agency responsible for preventing child abuse. I couldn't find one. I asked my hosts and they also had no information of an NGO or a state agency that we could call for help.

In the end, I called the local police station. Fortunately, the police responded by sending a mobile unit.

I explained the matter to the police and told them it was the second incident in less than a week. They accompanied me to the neighbour's door. The police rang the bell. It was 3:45am.

This time, the neighbour's wife responded. She right away advised the police that there were no males in the house, preempting the all-male police team from entering the house. She further informed the police that it was her own child crying. A child that calls her mother "Baji".

The police advised the neighbour's wife that their household were not registered with the local police station, which is now a mandatory requirement for tenants. The police left without further action, but advised us that they would return during the day to speak with the men in the household.

If this were to be the case in Toronto (my city), the child protection services would have sprung into action. They would remove the underage maid and place her in foster care. Even if the real parents are suspected of child abuse, the state would immediately take custody of the child until the matter has been investigated. If the child is subsequently returned to the parents, a child protection agency would routinely visit the household to determine the child's welfare.

This is not to suggest that child abuse does not take place in Canada. Some children do slip through the cracks where the state and the society fail to protect the most vulnerable amongst us. Jeffery Baldwin was one such five-year-old whose maternal grandparents, his legal guardians, starved him to death. The very system that was supposed to protect him, failed him.

There are hundreds of thousands of Jeffery Baldwins in Pakistan who need the help of both the state and the society.

Underage domestic workers have the worst fortune. They suffer in silence, but in plain sight of the society. They are beaten, starved, and are forced to live in inhospitable conditions. They are brought to cities from villages where their parents often readily give them up for having one less child to feed.

Examine: Hidden workers

Fortunately for Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is also a caring grandfather who has responded with compassion in cases of abuse. Given the widespread abuse of underage domestic and commercial workers, the federal government must launch a national helpline that the good Samaritans could call to report abuse. It should be as simple as dialing 15 or 1122.

While organisations such as Madadgar do exist, they are not known nationally and they don't have the legal underpinnings to have a binding influence on those who abuse children. The new child protection agency should have the means to relocate the child without delay and place in foster care. Edhi's help could be sought to officiate a national programme to rescue abused children. Unicef could be engaged to design the program based on the best practices from around the world.

The young girl who cries at night in the neighbour's house, and many thousands like her, need our immediate attention and care. Our apathy could mean a death sentence for them. She might one day die of pneumonia, but her real cause of death will be abuse, apathy, and neglect.

Take a look: Child abuse scandal

Unfortunate children like her die every day and are transported back to their villages for burial. No one knows that they didn't just die, they were murdered.

Our silence will make us equally guilty. Let's break the silence and call the prime minister to act today to save those children who could still be saved.

For the girl crying in Rawalpindi, I hope that on the 12th of Rabi ul Awwal next year, instead of crying in a locked washroom, she is in the care of a loving family.

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1


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Murtaza Haider is a Toronto-based academic and the director of Regionomics.com.

He tweets @regionomics


The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (108) Closed



S.A Basit Jan 01, 2016 12:56pm

The Real solution is not State custody or effective work rescue organization. its poverty which brings young male & female worker to work under these circumstances. the best & legal place for them is parental custody. The solution is to provide the Education, Health & employment & security facility so that young or adult both never being a victim. Its democracy who only cares about Wealthy people n so called majority (rulling party)

Arif119 Jan 01, 2016 12:57pm

Thumbs up for being kind & raising the voice in a society of insensitive people who remain deaf/blind to real injustice and have all the time to gossip on non-issues.

Govt. MUST establish a helpline to report such issues! Any one listening!

Muhammad Arshad Jan 01, 2016 12:59pm

Such a Sad story. something needs to be done in this regard, we should learn something from west.

rizwan Jan 01, 2016 01:02pm

Painful to read.

Noreen Nasir Jan 01, 2016 01:04pm

Harrowing eye opener.

Abdul Jan 01, 2016 01:29pm

Some angel legislator has to provide legal cover to innocent souls. Once legislation is there, several NGOs and Govt. bodies will act to save our future from torture and abuse.

ali Jan 01, 2016 01:56pm

Well done sir that you called for help; most of us would have let this happen.

PK Jan 01, 2016 02:08pm

Feel ashamed to be living in the society of monsters

Najma Hisham Jan 01, 2016 02:38pm

A country, a nation , a people, a society are judged by how they look after their weakest, poorest and most vulnerable. We in India and Pakistan fail in every aspect.

saqib ghumman Jan 01, 2016 03:04pm

Police will get some money out of it and the case will be closed

Bilal Jan 01, 2016 03:07pm

Thank you Murtaza for your attempt at highlighting this grave issue. The problem that seems to be is that when its everybody's responsibility it becomes nobody's responsibility. The government motor will not churn and its effects wont take place a good 5-10 years from now resulting from a few hundred judicial enquiries and JITs. The irony of the matters is that a number of households employing underage children and abusing them have children of their own. It brings to mind the lost morality of our nation.

I second your appeal to break this silence, increase awareness and have an NGO in place that can contribute by coordinating with existing organizations in Pakistan.

Happy New Year to all. May this year bring a true Naya Pakistan for all of us concerned citizens of our country.

Something Fishy Jan 01, 2016 03:17pm

@saqib ghumman "Police will get some money out of it and the case will be closed"

yeah but still it will be a lesson for the abuser and they will be more careful in future.

It has to start somewhere.

Also, I appreciate the police station that sent a mobile at that time on a phone call.

Majaz Amin Jan 01, 2016 03:18pm

Brilliant article.

Akber_Eh Jan 01, 2016 03:29pm

Ham Sharminda Hain..!! (We are Ashamed..!!)

asif Jan 01, 2016 03:41pm

In this country even grown ups have no rights and you are writing about rights of children,

BaiG Jan 01, 2016 03:46pm

Well this is not a construction project so nothing is gonna happen however if this would be a project like Metro or road then there are pretty much chances.

Umar Farooq Jan 01, 2016 03:49pm

Kindly include a button of Urdu on every heading of the news on web alongside tweeter , facebook or share button.

I'm sure, It will be highly appreciated by the readers or may attract more readers.

Pak Khan Jan 01, 2016 03:56pm

The story is just too sad .. wish you had mentioned what happened to them next day, but hope the little girl is safe. Also a humble request to those reading, pls be nice be very nice to young servants .. treat them as your own child .. when you go out, make sure they get to dress nicely, and eat properly .. and buy them toys to play with .. a little kindness will pay a long way.

Zee Jan 01, 2016 04:17pm

@Something Fishy Exactly the thing that will be most effective in combatting abuse is societies attitude. If peers neighbours tell you your attitude treatment of the poor is not acceptable people will change just to "keep face" so it is vital to complain and frown upon and ostracise these people.

Kahmad Jan 01, 2016 04:24pm

This is really a harsh condition prevailing in our homeland like many evils, Child abusing, We should break apathy and must act sensibly for well being of such child. We cane also act individually to eradicate such cases.

Samad Chaudhry Jan 01, 2016 04:31pm

What a sad story. I feel loss of words for such brutality.

Faizan Qureshi Jan 01, 2016 04:46pm

so sad, what a democracy by politicians. Good work Murtaza Haider

azhar Jan 01, 2016 04:58pm

@Something Fishy a lesson for abuser? I doubt! they'll dismiss this girl send her back and get a new one and might lock the new one at a place from where neighbours can't hear her crying! alas we are a lost nation who is left with no moral grounds.

RI Jan 01, 2016 05:03pm

So if a household doesn't have any male, police won't enter even if some thing wrong is going on in there? Ridiculous

Musharraf Sultan Jan 01, 2016 05:30pm

Dear Sir, I am a fellow Canadian now in Pakistan. Can you please send me details and address of the child in need of our help. I will try my best to help out. Thanks.

Habib Jan 01, 2016 05:44pm

I make head of state resposible to thousands of poor children around my country holding dual nationalities For decades i still call pakistan my home how come writer is calling only Toronto his city while it seams he is pakistani just criticising pakistan Also to consider 100 of blunder planted in Canadian society which pakistan is as such free

AH Jan 01, 2016 06:03pm

@S.A Basit It seems you did not get the point of the author, in which he has explained very well that children abuse exists in developed countries as well...taking your point for raising opportunities for work for Pakistanis....Pakistan cannot become a developed country over night, and even if it becomes, we do need to have laws, and a complete system that protects children for abouse...this to some extenet govt can do it even from tomorrow.

Rana Jan 01, 2016 06:21pm

@Habib Mr. Habib, we do not have to take it as criticism of Pakistan. I am from India and I'm sure such things happen in India also, but we do not have Mr. Murtaza Haider to have the courage to bring out such things in open. Only when you have recognized a problem, will you be able to find a solution. Most of us would just close our windows and not try to hear the voice of the little girl crying for help. It takes the courage to take such actions what Mr. Haider had done. May god bless him.

kazigee Jan 01, 2016 06:46pm

It is remarkable that it took a compassionate and brave overseas Pakistani to react to this abhorrent injustice and crime. I ask the readers living in Pakistan, what does this say about you as a society? When will people start behaving like humans? In many species of the animal kingdom when a baby becomes an orphan, some mother will adopt her and care for it. It is about time that we truly started respecting and caring for each other irrespective of social class, caring about our neighborhoods, our cities, our country. It is only then we will progress.

Zia Jan 01, 2016 07:22pm

Murtaza, good job! Living in developed world helps people realize that humans are equal and humanity is the law. Because of the law n justice people do care about responsibilities. Thanks for raising voice and acting on it.

Kiwi Jan 01, 2016 07:49pm

Very touching piece of writing ... could not read it to the end .. People should not have more children than they can provide for. Responsible parenthood needs to be legislated. Social responsibility needs to be legislated too. It should be mandatory to report cruelty to children, adults, elderly and to cruelty to animals.

Hassan Rasheed Jan 01, 2016 08:04pm

Yesterday I saw banners on Canal bank road near Doctor's Hospital about reporting this abuse. Here is a related link: http://www.punjab.gov.pk/childhelpline1121

Jimmy Jan Jan 01, 2016 08:07pm

I agree with your write-up. The sad part is that the callous educated Pakistani citizenry. Hate to say nothing will change and your article will forgotten a week from today. The PM will do crap. The ruling elite class will go about their merry way. The poor innocent children will continue to suffer and murdered. Life is Good in Pakistan.

Sajjad Ur Rehman Jan 01, 2016 08:09pm

"They are brought to cities from villages where their parents often readily give them up for having one less child to feed. Unfortunate children like her die every day and are transported back to their villages for burial. No one knows that they didn't just die, they were murdered" Muslims and Pakistani!!!!

AdHawk Jan 01, 2016 08:17pm

The biggest form of child abuse in Pakistan is that 50 million of them don't have access to education. Even in Karachi it's common to see children engaged in labor during school hours. This is such a blatant violation of Article 25A of the Constitution, it boggles the mind how the political parties, law enforcement and the judiciary can address any other business without fixing this problem first. Shame on us.

gary Jan 01, 2016 08:40pm

In general, people in te west are far less religious, but they do take care of the poor.

Murtaza Haider Jan 01, 2016 08:43pm

@Hassan Rasheed Thank you for the recommendation. I'll call 1121 and will report back.

concerned citizen Jan 01, 2016 08:51pm

@asif : So what is your point here Mr. Sherlock, just talk is not going to change anybody fate here but some real action.

Jawad Jan 01, 2016 09:09pm

Thank you Murtaza for highlighting these issues.

Ace Jan 01, 2016 09:11pm

@Habib What blunder that every Canadian child has the right to an education, that there is no child labor, that if you work hard you will succeed, that corruption is no way near a level that society would crumble....I could go on and on.

TINA Jan 01, 2016 09:14pm

But what happened to that poor soul you mentioned here? Was not anything done to rescue her

Kulshreshtha Jan 01, 2016 09:16pm

Thank you, Murtaza.

Ashfaq Jan 01, 2016 09:29pm

Thanks for sharing, this is darkest side of our society along with some others.

Here, many human become in-human in their behavior occasionally or usually.

PakCanuck Jan 01, 2016 10:11pm

For visitors to Pakistan from the Western countries, child labour and treatment of children are among the most difficult things to digest. It is probably because, children well being is so prevalent in the West whereas it is non existent in Pakistan. OR perhaps it is because children are so defenseless and deserve so much better.

As for the maid crying next doors, I hope she did not suffer more

Uday Kulkarni Jan 01, 2016 10:27pm

A very concerning & balanced article on child abuse and kudos to Murtaza Haider for pointing out the child abuse. However everything from West cannot be copied in India and Pakistan. The State security in US, Canada and West is very strong and has established infrastructure and credentials of taking proper foster care of the children who are snatched away from parents found of child abuse. So while understanding exactly where the author is coming from and appreciating his real concern for children, what is needed first is a proper establishment of a Foster Care department which knows how to take proper care of children and which would be able to provide better environment the child would otherwise face with its parents. It would be no use snatching away such abused children from their parents/guardians and putting them in some existing orphanages as that would probably do more harm and defeat the very purpose or cause of stopping the child abuse.

Yaar Nawab Jan 01, 2016 10:37pm

In such visits, police must accompany a female staff member - what a sad event !!!!!

Uday Kulkarni Jan 01, 2016 10:42pm

@Muhammad Arshad - Agree with you fully but to have a foster care department like in the west is not easy in Pakistan or India. To be able to snatch away the children from the erring parents found of child abuse; we need infrastructure and not just a legislation or few strong NGOs. The Foster care departments in the west get funding from their government to not just provide the food and shelter to the children but also provide proper schooling or in other words a better care for children than they would otherwise face at their home. In countries like India and Pakistan where millions of families are under poverty and the governments unable to provide basic infrastructure; a proper establishment of a foster care department is a pipe dream of future and in absence of that facility; we cannot copy what west is doing.

Sohail Khan Jan 01, 2016 11:18pm

Every one is recommending solutions. The matter of fact is that when the educated lot of country prefers to live abroad and do nothing except recommendations, it will not help. If you really care, you should live among your own people, do what ever you can rather than saying government should do this/that things!

Aamir Shahzad Jan 02, 2016 12:12am

Very unfortunate. i am deeply aggrieved on reading this article. People who treat children like this are psychological patients. Govt must take t he ownership of its citizens even after the elections are over. There is a strong need to invest in humans which hardly seems to be a priority at the moment. There is a need to have a govt owned department for child safety, the way writer has mentioned. We demand the PM to take action on this very important issue.

Murad Jan 02, 2016 12:17am

Hats off to you for raising voice

dawn Jan 02, 2016 12:21am

So sad this child - a girl - is born in Pakistan. It is people like this 'baji' that are doing all in their power to desecrate Islam. I'd love to hire this 'baji' for a similar job but I follow my prophets teachings. Can some of us get together to financially support this little girl? My name at the top of the list. The editor can contact me.

Nazish Jan 02, 2016 12:33am

and they call themselves Muslims... Shameless

Abdullah Jan 02, 2016 12:43am

Very sad state of affairs. I salute you and your host for being courageous to go and knock at the door of those oppressors in the dead of the night. At the least that "BAJI" should be made to sleep in that cold bathroom for few nights. Otherwise I hope that the unimaginably intense heat of hereafter will definitely welcome such "BAJIS" and those who have been given the temporary control over the affairs of people but show a deaf ear and blind eye to do the justice.

iqbal Jan 02, 2016 12:45am

First THANKS for taking action. Hope more people think this way and change the psychology of the public. Laws do help some times but the society changes with education and pressure from within.

Rashid Jan 02, 2016 01:25am

Knowing people from Pakistan, it is no surprise, we treat labors like they are no human. But the biggest irony is that we as a nation only see all the evil just in politicians.

GA Jan 02, 2016 01:41am

Where is the happy ending in this story for that girl???

AW Jan 02, 2016 02:12am

This article touches the heart of every human being in the world. It speaks to the callousness of the Pakistani society. It speaks to the recklessness of the oblivious government which has no concern for the public or the children of this country. Shame on the society and its government which celebrates its false accomplishments while million of its children remain unprotected from abuse, out of school, hungry and without shelter and basic healthcare.

Syed Zaidi Jan 02, 2016 02:28am

Murtaza, Please tell me that you were at least able to get some kind of help other then just knock at the door? (followup with the police) knowing the ever efficient bureaucracy in our country that innocent child might still be suffering. I hope, I am totally wrong though. After quickly scanning this painful report I would say that your efforts might go to waste. unless, at least your host was able to get some sort of help? I am sure other neighbors also heard the painful cry's, but how low the level of "Begheraty" can dip in our society. We do deserve the conditions that we are facing in our country. shame shame on all of us!!!!!

Rvel Jan 02, 2016 02:43am

Brilliant piece on a very pertinent issue. I consider your case better dealt because the main issue is widespread corrupt police system. I have seen many incidents like this but inviting police unfortunately invites more problems, who would then simply trouble for bothering them. Bribery, mighty people would talk about their rank, job and reference and get away with heinous crimes.

There are NGO's and child protection bureau in Punjab but who knows their commitment, efficacy and capacity to deal with these inumberable domestic crimes.

Nathan chaudry Sangakara Jan 02, 2016 04:07am

Young maid of 12 years, that is child labour. No kid should be working at that age.

Shakeel Ahmad Jan 02, 2016 04:26am

Thank you for caring!

MSK Jan 02, 2016 05:22am

This is very tragic state of the society. We have VIP culture, Bonded labour, Honour killing - and some justify and glorify these cultures. It is really shameful.

Adil Jadoon Jan 02, 2016 06:11am

There need to be laws protecting these children and they should not be working in the first place!!! Also action by local people will ensure such criminals do not get away with such abuse!

Madan Jan 02, 2016 06:13am

The author of this article always writes very touching and truthful articles mostly related to situations existing in Pakistan. He chooses subject matters like lack of education,poverty and ignorance in Pakistan.The subject of this article is not only the poverty of the child labour but also the atrocity of the master whom the labourer or the domestic servant serves.Confining a child in a cold wash room at night in the winter season is abominable and has to be condemned by all human beings.A legal action is also called for in such cases.Unfortunately controlling human reproduction and thereby creating poverty,ignorance and such ugly situations are an anathema and considered irreligious in the society in which we live.

Muzaffar Ali Jan 02, 2016 06:51am

Visit the Edhi Centre in Karachi....there are hundreds of such cases at the Edhi Sahib's Centre.

Alam Jan 02, 2016 07:00am

The incident made almost every reader crying. Thank you very much for efforts to help out the child and later for narrating the sad state of affairs in this article. But at the same time the writer left everyone disappointed and curious for not taking to logical end. He did not mention any further movement. Whether police came next day? Or anybody approached the neighbours in the day. The option other than police was to take help from Union Council member of the area. I feel either the writer had left Pakistan next day or he had been advised by his hosts to stop this and not to indulge in such matters as long as he is their guest. That is why it was an abrupt end and he could not even inquire from his hosts on phone if they heard again the crying of the child.

raj Jan 02, 2016 07:10am

All parents must understand that having a child is not a "right" but it is a "privilege". If one can't guarantee a decent caring family for a child, he/she should not have a child. The suffering of the child because of poor financial conditions of the family should be avoided at all cost. Accidents do happen, but beyond that what is within the hands of men/women should be adopted to avoid pain and suffering of the loved ones.

Haque Parast Jan 02, 2016 07:19am

I wish there was a happy ending, at least for the young maid. Without a happy ending this is just another story of our society.

Usman Jan 02, 2016 07:23am

Is not it state's duty to protect every citizen,,, specially the one who are week, please we don't want metro,,,,we want institutions

umm muhammad Jan 02, 2016 07:26am

Horrifying!

imrna Jan 02, 2016 08:45am

You took a bold step that we 100% would have never dare to do so for the next door nebhiour, because of retaliations and our own safety.

Gunjan Jan 02, 2016 09:06am

Horrifying story - but all too common in our part of the world. In India, someone started a helpline called 'Childline' - they got sanction from the government of India with police and medical authorities being instructed to work with them. Today their helpline number can be called from any phone and every child who lives in the streets knows the number. They respond to ill-treatment, illness, crime, addictions and mis-treatment. Their services are now manned by some of the same children they have helped. They also have tie-up with schools to provide shelter during the night to street children. There they provide food, hygiene, health check-ups, a place to sleep as well as school classes in the nights.

sami Jan 02, 2016 09:08am

@S.A Basit Are you kidding me dude? No matter what else, there has to be a state agency whose only job is the safety and welfare of children. No matter what you do there will always be abuse of children. Even in highly advanced countries like USA, there is an agency called Child Protective Services and it ensure that no one, and I literally mean no one, including the parents, can abuse children.

Dr MUMTAZ Jan 02, 2016 10:29am

Very heart touching but there are countless lying but no heart to feel of there grevinces. Proud u felt&raised ur voice isnt most issue is the poverty many mouth to feeds but one hand to help then come illliteracy social setup jaggir dare wadera shai we like to be kings &the poor one to be ur slaves. One day this chrisma will break INSHALLAHA no child will ever be abused. thanks

Mustafa Noor Jan 02, 2016 10:49am

Yes it is true when govt and other that help the poor go ahead and treat poor and help the street children better

Fazal Karim Jan 02, 2016 10:58am

a very moving article. What has happened to our society,why are we so cruel.

Biswarup Jan 02, 2016 11:13am

Very sad story and it is same in India, wish we can overcome these perils in our societies.

Abdulla Hussain Jan 02, 2016 11:26am

Arrogance, Illiteracy & Poverty are the important factors behind such sufferings.

Saeed Masood Jan 02, 2016 12:43pm

If these poor people will be educated and find better jobs when they grow up is the solution to these problems...this is a worldwide evil...I read living in America once that some well off family made a underage Mexican maid girl stand outside in chil the whole night..yes this man of the rich family was arrested the next day...in India this happening in every other house with child labour...there is help available in Punjab because the CM Shahbaz Sharif is very conscious of this...but more is needed...

wellwisher Jan 02, 2016 01:08pm

what about the parents of maid.They come to collect her salary, when she complains of maltreatment, they tell her to behave for the sake of family.When employer complains of bad behaviour, they are told to be firm.They produce children as investment.

Whatacountry Jan 02, 2016 02:03pm

Where are this child's parents? They should be hauled with the abusers. Did Police return in the morning? I have my doubt about this story. You don't give up half way when a child's life is at stake.

Akil Akhtar Jan 02, 2016 02:04pm

It is a crime and the house owners should be dealt with accordingly. But I am tired of these foreign based Pakistanis pretending to be holier than those left behind

Tariq Jan 02, 2016 03:54pm

Haider Sb , I hope you must followed up another news story in Lahore, the teenage girl raped by six or more , Sir what are you talking about, where feudal a rape under age maids and it goes on and on.

Muhammad Asif Jan 02, 2016 04:03pm

Very sad and painful ...its time to do something..Well done sir at least you called for help such cruel should must be teach a lesson..

Asif Jamil Jan 02, 2016 06:43pm

@asif

In this country even grown ups have no rights and you are writing about rights of children.

Everybody should have rights. Children are helpless and need much more protection from such criminal employers.

Very, very sad & depressing reading. I hope the little girl is freed from this bondage immediately.

Asif Jamil Jan 02, 2016 06:54pm

@Pak Khan

Thank you. I hope everybody will follow your advice. One of my friends did. He took his family maid's daughter to London, treated her like his own daughter & educated her. The girl grew up, did very well at college, speaks fluent English, drives, has a good job and many English friends. She married a Pakistani engineer in UK. And her old mother is still their family maid in KP.

It is all a matter of opportunity. Please let us treat them kindly and help them be something in life. There is great satisfaction in giving.

Sarwat Jan 02, 2016 07:55pm

Haider for once I agree with you. I also live in Canada, you have depicted a true picture of state's responsibility towards its unfortunate children here. What happened to that girl afterwards, any idea, did you get a chance to follow up on it. I would have taken it all the way to make sure that little angel is in no further danger from anyone.

Imran Jiwani Jan 02, 2016 09:19pm

And we say we are proud to be Pakistani. How can I say I am proud of something which does not provide basic neccesities to its citizen? I am not saying that I dont love my country, I do love Pakistan but I am sorry to say that I am not proud of Her :(. Not many will understand what I am trying to say here.

Masood Husssain Jan 02, 2016 11:28pm

you have to have your ears checked,it was not one sound of cry for help but multiple sounds,no body listens. we as a nation have developed a habit of wrapping our ears so tightly or plugging them so that we don't listen to such cries.

Tamoor Tariq Jan 03, 2016 12:59am

Hey sir. I want to ask you that what happened to that little girl? is she in safe hands now? i prayer for her safety.

Rizwan Jan 03, 2016 01:43am

A real burning issue highlighted by the writer. Concerned authorities and persons in Pakistan should think over it and should try to make some arrangement to deal with child abuse.

Abdul Aziz Jan 03, 2016 01:46am

What happened ultimately ? Was the young girl rescued from these vultures ? What a shame we have to know such sad incidents day in and day out.

Tan Jan 03, 2016 04:23am

Please tell me the child is out of that household and in safe hands now. Would you be kind enough to write a follow up article? Thanks.

illawarrior Jan 03, 2016 07:11am

@Pak Khan The real answer here is not to have children as servants. Bring in child labour laws!

illawarrior Jan 03, 2016 07:12am

@RI Easily solved by including female police in such house visits.

Arsalan Jan 03, 2016 09:47am

Very painful to read. It is very hurting to even imagine that kid's pain.

MAH Jan 03, 2016 09:56am

It is very courageous of the writer to call police for a neighbour's maid. However, more than such employers and the society in general, it is the parents of these children who are to blame. They give birth to a number of children when they don't have means to raise them. I have heard of way too many stories from housemaids in Karachi on the lack of willingness of the fathers to take up stable work and they just leave their young sons and daughters on the mercy of the world. I think no child protection campaign can be practical and successful without planned family campaign.

Syed Irfan Ali Jan 03, 2016 10:31am

So painful, wonder why police can't take action against such cruelty? Can't think that human race can go that down in inflicting pain to their fellow species......... that also underage.... 12 years. Oh my God! will someone do something to save the child from her captors? We expatriates can only request to our countrymen.

MA Sheikh (Dubai) Jan 03, 2016 11:05am

Thanks for writing this eye-opener article. What was most pathetic that the 'hosts' who had heard these cries never paid any heed to it.

It has become a norm to "throw the ball" in government's court and have a sound sleep once again. There might be various reasons for them to work at this young age but Child abuse and their protection should be a priority not only for the government but for all citizens.

Siva D Jan 03, 2016 11:12am

Thank you sir for following up on this incident. My heart goes out to the little one - I hope she is in a better situation now than when you found her. It is time we translate our various religious proclivities into actions that make a difference to the lives of those around us.

Amir Jan 03, 2016 12:05pm

I assume while reading this article that kid is still going through same torture and abuse. A lot of us are making suggestions to improve systems and having new NGOs to completely solve this problem at national level. Well that is not going to happen any time soon. Why not try to help individual cases one at time. Why not try to help this one kid for now. I'd like to ask the author if he is willing to share where abouts of this kid so I can try to get help to this kid?

Sarwaich Panhwar Jan 03, 2016 01:06pm

Sir Problem is not that they are not treated well or child abuse is done in Pakistan... but the problem is why the parents of the innocent and young children are letting that happen, here is the role of government which do not take any action of improve social economic level , and in result the people are forced to do some thing illegal some thing that is not acceptable .. and child slavery is one of them. All we have to do is educate people to such a level that they should do work on small scale at least .. provide them source of income ... give growth to industries hire people equally from mid level and below poverty line. By doing that every parent would easily afford the expenses of their own home and will not sacrifice their children..

Wiqas Jan 03, 2016 01:36pm

Very good story. But writer's position is same like audience sitting outside playground making comments and giving suggestions but as such they can not improve the game situation. I am sure Mr. Murtaza Haider can do lot more if he lives in Pakistan instead of Canada. We need people like him.

khanm Jan 03, 2016 06:49pm

Folks... we have become quite numb when it comes to humanitarian issues.. Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat..Pakistan would have been a different place, for those mortal hands that held the power abolish all form poverty did nothing. In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.

parveez Jan 03, 2016 07:12pm

I don't the answer, but I have seen children as young as 8 years. This young 8 years old from Punjab came with a family I know. When asked I was told that the father had left the boy with this family, and taken a years salary for him. seeing this boy made me very sad. When I started talking to the boy, he told me that he started working w3hen he was around 4. I offered to take him back to his parents, but he didn't want to go, and that he was happy with this family. This boy was looked after very well, but I still could not accept him doing the daily work, as my grand child only 7 years, and my wife, still feeds him. Is it just people like us from abroad have harts, what has happened to Pakistanis. As a Pakistani and muslim, we have lost our commitment to mankind.

ahmed Jan 03, 2016 08:40pm

Dear author don't leave it at this. The child may now be made to suffer due to your well meaning intervention. Please follow up on this and ensure she's unhurt. Freed from her cruel masters.Thanks.

Iftikhar Anwar Jan 04, 2016 02:18pm

in fact this is the dark side of our society.

Haider Jan 09, 2016 02:45am

While it is nice to see people raising their voice against injustices in the society I would want the so called patriotic Pakistanis to come back to Pakistan face the challenges in real life and then think about writing blogs. We don't need explanations on how good it is in Canada. We know it.