ISLAMABAD - Owing to the government’s failure to implement its own laws, child labour in almost every part of the country including the federal capital, is on the rise, especially in small industrial units, it is as common as poverty and ignorance. It is a fact that several million Pakistani children work for extremely long hours in exchange for meagre pay and ar also maltreated. Instead of being in schools, these children are left at the mercy of a cruel world where they continue to struggle hard as child workers. Despite the government’s recognition of laws against child labour and tall claims of politicians to end child labour in the country, these children who are our future are being crushed by the unkind society. One such child labour, Ahmed Nawaz, 12, working for the last 4 years is not alone in his profession, but has little or no hope for the fulfillment of his dreams to become an army officer. When asked about his dream, Nawaz told this scribe: “If I am able to continue my education and I will join the army”. Narrating his sorrowful story, Nawaz continues that it was her mother’s dream that he should get education, but if her children did not work, she could not live an honourable life and would be forced to beg or compromise with the society. Nawaz’s painful practical life began when he was only weight-year-old and was hired by a service station owner with his cousin to wash cars. After two years of experience, he was able to earn Rs 300 plus per week. One bright Friday, Nawaz met one of his old car customers who offered him a job at his residence for Rs 4,000 per month salary. There are numerous children living miserable lives by working 10-14 hours a day and earning as little as Rs 10 per day in the cities like Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore. Most of children work in auto-mechanical shops while several others work as car washers and cleaners. Others can be seen mending tyres, selling flowers at traffic signals and selling fruits and vegetables in markets or working as domestic servants. The ILO 2011 report has warned that an appallingly high number of children, 115 million of the world’s 215 million child labourers, is still doing hazardous jobs. A recent report on ‘State of Pakistan’s Children 2010’ released by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) revealed that “the trend of child labour is decreasing globally, but unfortunately in Pakistan there has been an increase in child labour.” The children working as labour are denied education which is now a recognised right for every child between the ages of six and 14. The plight of our child labour demands urgent action by both the government and the society to end the exploitation of young children and secure the future of our next generation. Talking to Pakistan Today, Muhammad Imtiaz, national programme manager of SPARC, said that to curb the menace of the child labour, there should be implementation of the law regarding the inspection of child labour at workplaces. Imtiaz also underlined the need to implement Article 25-A which says: “The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.” The representative of SPARC said that due to shortage of money, most of the poor people could not buy books. He, however, said that after the 18th Amendment it was now the responsibility of the provincial government to take strict measures to stop child labour and provide alternative ways of income to the families of these child workers.