PHC asks departments about steps against child labour

Updated January 18, 2019

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Also seeks details of funds allocated for addressing issue. — File
Also seeks details of funds allocated for addressing issue. — File

PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday sought detailed reports from different government departments, including labour and social welfare ones, about the steps taken by them for the eradication of child labour, especially their employment in hazardous atmospheres.

Justice Mussarat Hilali and Justice Mohammad Ayub Khan directed the relevant departments to provide details of the funds allocated for addressing the issue of child labour.

The bench issued the orders during a hearing into a petition filed by Peshawar resident Mohammad Naeem, who had sought the court’s orders for government departments to enforce laws against child labour.

Also seeks details of funds allocated for addressing issue

The petitioner also prayed the court to issue directives to departments to stop children from cleaning vehicle windscreens at traffic signals in the provincial capital saying that work can cause injury to the children.

He sought orders for stopping youths from driving commercial vehicles without having licence, a violation of the Road Transport Workers Ordinance.

The respondents in the petition are the provincial government through chief secretary, provincial secretaries of labour, industries, social welfare, law and human rights departments, and a non-governmental organisation, Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child.

Noor Alam Khan, lawyer for the petitioner, said Pakistan had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child besides enacting different laws to deal with the issue of child labour.

He, however, said the relevant departments weren’t bothered about the implementation of those laws. The lawyer said under Article 11(3) of the Constitution, no child below the age of 14 years should be engaged in any factory or mine or any other hazardous employment.

He said under Article 3 of the Constitution, the State should ensure the elimination of all forms of exploitation.

The lawyer said Article 25 (A) of the Constitution made it binding on the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children age between five and 16 years in a manner determined by the law.

He said after the passage of the Constitution (Eighteenth) Amendment Act, 2010, it was the responsibility of the provincial government to look into the issue of child labour and children education.

Mr Alam claimed that a survey revealed that around 1.5 million children were engaged in labour work across the province.

He said though laws were there on those issues, they hadn’t been implemented. The lawyer said the laws’ enforcement needed strict supervision of the government.

He said small children could be witnessed cleaning windscreens of vehicles at busy traffic signals and intersections.

Mr Alam said if the menace of child labour wasn’t controlled, it would have negative impact on the society as such children won’t become useful members of the society.

He requested the court to ask all departments to submit reports about their steps against child labour as an interim relief in the case.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2019