PESHAWAR: In connection with the World Day Against Child Labour, child rights activist Imran Takkar said that in order to resolve the issue of child labour in Pakistan, the federal and provincial governments should make serious efforts to implement Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, which provides the right to free and compulsory education for children aged between five to 16.
Takkar said that almost 20 million school going age children were out of school, in which approximately 10 million school going age children were involved in labour activities.
Takkar said that in order to improve the overall labour situation, there was a need to strengthen the labour inspection machinery. Pakistan has also ratified all eight of the International Labour Organisations core conventions. However, implementation of these conventions has been poor thus far.
He further said that to ensure effective implementation of labour laws, the labour inspection system is of critical importance, and the federal and provincial governments should focus on putting in place such a system. This step would be very helpful in ensuring the implementation of all labour laws, including those related to child labour, forced and bonded labour, and minimum wage and social security, he added. He also said that once all the labour laws are implemented in letter and spirit, child labour would be eliminated from the country and children would get enrolled in educational institutions automatically.
Takkar urged the government to carry out a comprehensive child labour survey across the country so that effective measures could be taken to eradicate child labour from Pakistan.
He called for a detailed child labour survey across all provinces so that more information could be accumulated about this practice.
He argued that collecting data would help the relevant authorities gauge the extent of injustices committed against millions of children and would also help policymakers apply targeted measures to help curb this menace.
The last National Child Labour Survey was conducted more than 20 years ago in 1996. According to that survey, around 3.3 million children were working in Pakistan at that time.