AS if the case of child violence involving minors was not enough of an eye-opener for society, we witnessed the horrific incident of mob frenzy in Jaranwala. And just as people were trying to find a way to recover emotionally and psychologically, there came further reports about continuous torture against minor children; one of them even lost her life.
Is there absolutely no law to protect our young generation? And why is it that most of these cases of torture against minors are carried out by the so-called educated and well-off in society?
Why are the so-called leaders still silent on these issues for long? These are important questions to think about, as they show a general and entrenched trend in society.
The poor have no option but to send their young children to work as domestic help in the hope that they may lend a helping hand to the household budget. The employers take full advantage of this helplessness.
They do not consider even for a moment how morally, ethically and legally wrong it is to physically torture someone, let alone a minor.
It is the responsibility of all the stakeholders, especially the media and the state, which should not only sensitise the nation, it should also make it clear through all possible channels that employing a minor or physical assault is a criminal felony that carries stern punishments.
While our legislators always seem eager to make laws quickly when they benefit the elite, they hardly ever find enough time to enact laws for the protection of our children. And once they do that, they have zero interest in seeing to it that the laws actually get implemented.
It is becoming more and more appalling to hear and read about the cases in which children are tortured, their future taken away from them, and in some cases, even their lives. These are only the cases that make to the surface. There are hundreds of such cases that do not get reported at all.
Thousands of children have to go through the torture of working for these so-called elite on a daily basis while losing all their youth. All their lives, they keep walking towards a dark and bleak future.
All concerned should work together to eradicate child labour on a war footing and ensure that all children are provided due access to education. We should hold those responsible for exploiting and abusing children accountable.
Additionally, it is essential to raise awareness about the rights of children and the consequences of child labour through targeted campaigns and educational initiatives. It is high time each and every one of us did their part.
Akmal Waheed Bhatti
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2023