The Peshawar High Court Tuesday issued notices to a number of government functionaries to come up with a response over a petition seeking the court’s directives for implementation of child rights law while eliminating the menace of child labour in the province.
The court has asked the respondents to submit a comprehensive report pertaining to data about underage children rickshaw drivers, child beggars and children working in industries and detail of steps taken to abolish the menace of child labour by September 12.
A division bench of the PHC comprising Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar issued the directives to the concerned authorities in response to a petition of local resident Muhammad Naeem urging the court for implementation of the laws framed for eradication of child labour.
Representing the petitioner in the matter, senior Advocate Supreme Court Noor Alam Khan and Advocate High Court Shabeena Noor made Chief Secretary Kyber Pakhtunkhwa, provincial secretaries of Labour, law, Industries, Commerce and Technical Education Department, Social Welfare, Special Education and Women Empowerment, KP Coordination Committee on Child Labour through its Chairman, Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) through its Regional Manager Peshawar as respondents. Appearing before the division bench of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan, the counsels urged the court to issue directives to the respondents for implementation of the laws framed for eradication of child labour.
They argued the case and requested the court to direct the respondents to implement the existing laws in true letter and spirit by stopping the children at different traffic signals while cleaning the cars.
During the course of proceedings, counsels contended that all the laws framed for child labour are available only in black and white and required strong implementation saying the issue required to get addressed with iron hands. She apprised the bench that in most of the places, girls as child labour have been seen and ironically not only in the daylight but in most of the places, girls as child labour have been seen and ironically not only in the daylight but in most of the places after sunset.
The counsels argued the work of the female child labour on the roadside may cause a problem even to her life and modesty, adding this another dilemma that all the law implementing officers and officials and political leaders go through these roads while looking at these helpless child labour but none of them ever took notice of the issue.
Expressing grave concern over the miseries and plight of the child labour, the lawyer said that it was extremely painful and hurting when a child of 10/12 years was sleeping in the severe cold night while selling his balloons in his hands.
“It is another hurt burning fact that in about all the traffic signals, children below the age of 14 years are standing having clothes in their hands for cleaning mirrors of the cares at the cost of Rs10/- and all this is happening in our daily life but the law implementing agencies and its implementations are sleeping and no notice or action is taken for eradication of this grave issue”, the lawyers contended.
They warned if the existing and growing issue of child labour could not be addressed then it will be having destructive consequences as innocent children could be manipulated easily for the worst circumstances of their lives. She argued that the state and community are already facing the issue of terrorism and a high ratio of crimes and if steps are not taken to curb child labour then it will be having destructive consequences.
The counsels apprised the bench that in most of the places, minor children are driving commercial vehicles in violation of Roads, Transport Workers Ordinance 1961 saying the authority has failed to implement the law in a strict sense.
Seeking implementation of constitutional provisions that every child up to the age of sixteen years to be provided free and compulsory education Advocate Shabeena Noor contended that petitioner has left with no other alternate and efficacious remedy except to invoke the jurisdiction of the High Court for remedy in the matter.
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