HYDERABAD: This is in response to Hammad Asif’s article published on July 8th titled “Challenges to child protection.” Mr Asif has wisely pointed out the challenges that the Child Protection Bill 2017 will face in the wake of absence of knowledge one has about their own rights.
However, the writer fails to point out one significant drawback with the bill. Yes, the passing of the bill is indeed a celebratory moment for human rights activists as “it will safeguard minors from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect,” but it fails to hold people accountable for child labour.
The Child Protection Bill 2017 identifies to rehabilitate children who report abuse, mental or physical, or are found begging, amongst other factors. But with the absence of holding people accountable for child labour it will leave many children vulnerable to societal pressures, resultantly robbing them of their childhood and innocence.
Considering that the bill was passed following the 10-year-old Tayyaba’s torture case, shows that children working as domestic helpers are often treated inhumanly. As much as that is a problem, we should not fail to identify the root cause of it — an innocent minor being employed at an age she should be studying or playing.
The child labour laws present in Pakistan haven’t been able to change the unfortunate situation, hence had the child protection bill included a penalty or imprisonment for employing minors it would have gravely helped improve the situation.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2017.