PESHAWAR: A child labour survey will be conducted across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province next month, says an official.
Speaking at a consultation on child rights in the province, director labour department Irfan Khan said though the survey was to be conducted earlier last year, it had to be postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The event was arranged by the Omar Asghar Khan Foundation.
Mr Khan said initially the survey was to be carried out only in the settled districts; however, following the delay, the department had decided to also include the merged districts in the exercise. The labour department official said about 600 surveyors and enumerators would take part in the activity.
Secretary social welfare department Zulfiqar Ali Shah told the participants that the draft KP Child Marriage Restraint Bill had been returned by the provincial cabinet for a review.
He said the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1925, dated back to colonial period and there were many gaps, which necessitated the new legislation.
He said laws to curb child marriages were already in force in many Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bangladesh. Mr Shah said issue of child marriages was inextricably linked with population.
Child rights activist Imran Takkar spoke about the child labour and other issues. He said according to a survey conducted in 1990s, there were 3.3 million children engaged in child labour in Pakistan, while number of child labourers in KP stood at 1.1 million.
Mr Takkar said according to another survey conducted in 2017, there were 1.8 million out-of-school children in the province. However, the number was likely to be much higher due to the impacts of former Fata’s merger and the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2021