We cannot have another case like Zohra Shah: Osman Khalid Butt

The actor shared a detailed thread to explain what child labour laws are and how we should be educated about them

Entertainment Desk June 04, 2020
PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/OSMAN KHALID BUTT

Earlier this week a minor domestic worker in Rawalpindi passed away after being violently beaten by her employers. The victim, eight-year-old Zohra Shah was attacked for setting an expensive parrot free.

Following her demise, social media went in an uproar with public figures from the showbiz industry and otherwise raising their voices against the tragic incident.

There was an outrage on Twitter after the incident made the news. Among others included, actors Osman Khalid Butt, Armeena Khan and activist Muniba Mazari. Butt earlier kept his outrage brief by uttering the words "Dear God” as he shared the news.

However, he later shared a detailed thread to explain what is child labour and how we should be educated about it.

"If we want change beyond #JusticeforZohra, we need to raise our collective voice to amend our child labour laws," the Balu Mahi star shared. "But first: what are they?"



Butt then shared dew penal codes related to child labour and abuse in Pakistan, namely, Pakistan Employment of Children Act, Punjab Restriction on Employment of Children Act.

He added, "It is only the Sindh Prohibition of Employment of Children Bill that clearly states that no establishment or factory can employ a child less than 14. In the two links above, you'll notice that domestic labour is not mentioned in the list of prohibited/'hazardous' occupations."



The actor further shared, "Shireen Mazari has earlier tonight, tweeted that the MOHR is proposing an amendment to the Employment of Children Act to include domestic labour. This has to be followed up and seen through. And not just in that Act, this must be adopted universally in all provinces."



Butt then asserted on how "child labour is child abuse."

"We cannot have another case like Zohra Shah. We cannot allow for our outrage to fade till our laws are amended to protect the rights of children, sans any loophole," he Baaghi star said.



Talking about how an individual can help in this case, Butt continued, "Do not employ children as domestic help. Speak out if members of your family/friends have. There is a lot of literature on the negative physical and psychosocial impact of child labour. Use that knowledge to help them understand."



"Education is key. Speaking of: please donate to organisations supporting child education. The Citizens Foundation is one," he wrote, adding a list of organisations that supports child education.



"Any amount you contribute goes towards ensuring our lesser privileged children enjoy the same rights to education we do," he concluded. "Children need to be in schools. Period. Can't stress enough that until child labour laws are amended and implemented, we won't see change."



The Outrage:

Earlier, alongside Butt, superstar Mahira Khan shared the news bit and referred to the perpetrators as “demons”. “The demons walk freely among us,” she said.

Social media personality Shaniera Akram reminded everyone that child labour was against the law. “Anyone who has a person working for them in their house who is under the age of 14, and I don’t care if they are your longtime staff members, son or daughter who’s living with you, you are breaking the law. If you really want to look after that child then send them to school not work!” she said.

She also lashed out at the person responsible for the heinous crime. “Now it’s your turn to be the one in the bloody cage! #JusticeForZohraShah #StopChildLabour #ProtectOurChildren,” she tweeted.

Rapper-comedian Ali Gul Pir talked about the myopic state of affairs in the country.”If a child who was killed because she wanted a bird to be free can’t get justice. Then nothing that you have achieved matters #basicHumanRight #JusticeForZohraShah,” he said.

Meanwhile, actor Ushna Shah had earlier talked about how the public should be concerned about grave incidents like these as opposed to social media gossip. “Those of you who aren’t asking the right questions are shaping the priority of our nation,” she said.

Armeena shared a sketch of a girl freeing a bird from its cage with the caption “RIP Zohra Shah. #JusticeForZohraShah”.

Likewise, Mazari posted an image of a girl setting a bird free with text on it that read, “He killed Zohra for releasing the birds from the cage. Maybe it was a mistake or maybe all she wanted to do was to set the birds free. And she was just eight-years-old, let that sink in.”

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