THE Pakistan Pediatric Association stringently condemns the killing of eight-year-old Zohra, a domestic worker. Her fault was that she mistakenly let some parrots out of cage.
She was probably expressing her own heartfelt wish to be free like the parrots. Not only has a heinous crime been committed against a minor child, hiring an eight-year-old child even for domestic work, is against child labour laws as enshrined in the UN charter of child labour.
Pakistan as a charter member of UN has banned hazardous labour under age 14 years of age. Even domestic work is hazardous for a child aged less than 10 years.
Unscrupulous people in Pakistan prefer to employ children as they are paid much less. This is exploitation of the powerless by the powerful segments of society.
The government, particularly the human rights ministry, is urged to ensure that justice is done in this case.
Furthermore, the federal and provincial governments should ensure that children are not employed even for domestic work. The minimum age for employment should be 16 years. In addition, all such workers should be registered and the terms and conditions of their employment should be clearly defined and properly implemented.
Dr Mumtaz Lakhani
Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2020