Society-Media-Government Triangle Can ‘Save the Children’;
Child Laborer’s Plight Falls on Deaf Ears
Ahmad Shah Kakakhel, 12, is an unfortunate boy who keeps on handling the muddy and dusty footwear of people who want their shoes to shine all day long in the ‘heart of the capital’ i.e. Aabpara Market.
Ahmad is seen smiling all the time as he is not mature enough to understand what strange trick the fate has played with him. He is too young and innocent to understand what damage the lack of education can do him when he grows old.
When contacted by INFN he said with a broad smile on his face, “My grandfather was a cobbler, so was my father and I am also proud to have adopted the profession of my ancestors. I will love to breathe my last polishing the shoes and serving the fellow human beings.”
When questioned about the education and his inclination towards getting himself educated, he said, “My father has told me a golden rule that this life is merely a test for human beings. The best among us is the one who earns his living from the ‘sweat of his brow’. And I feel that the cobbler’s profession is the cleanest as whatever you earn is fair and there is no fear of earning by foul means. Therefore, I do not need education that teaches corruption.”
It seems that the boy has been cruelly brainwashed to such an extent that he detests education as this is not surely his informed opinion.
According to a survey funded by ILO’s IPEC (International Program on the Elimination of Child Labour) and conducted by Federal Bureau of Statistics, 3.8 million children in age group of 5-14 years are working in Pakistan out of total 40 million children. The plight of these 3.8 million child laborers in Pakistan goes unheeded and falls on deaf ears despite repeated hue and cry raised by those who are concerned.
Media to some extent is playing its role in bringing the issue to the limelight; however, a lot still needs to be done. On analyzing the content analysis performed from time to time of print and electronic media outlets, one gets to know that as compared to entertainment and hard news, the features on child laborers are no more than a pinch of salt in a godown of flour.
Civil society is also to blame as the indifferent attitude met at the hands of citizens on this serious issue is the order of the day. Civil society can play a very crucial role in saving the poor souls from eternally burning in the hell of child labor.
The government has to take the lion’s share of responsibility as it does not only own all the resources but also can use an ‘iron hand’ to stop this criminal practice that exploits the young souls under one pretext or the other.
It is the triangle of Media, civil society and the government that can save the innocent souls fated to bear the brunt of the evil practice of exploiting children in the name of poverty and lack of resources which is, in fact, forced labor in majority of the cases, as is in Ahmad Shah’s case.