ISLAMABAD - President Dr Arif Alvi on Sunday said that child labour was a growing curse in the world, particularly the developing countries and Pakistan was the victim of this growing global phenomenon.

In his message on World Day against Child Labour on June 12, the President said that Pakistan was committed to its international obligations towards prevention of child labour in all its forms and manifestations.

“World Day against Child Labour is observed all over the world to raise awareness for the prevention of child labour, encourage stakeholders to speak against this social evil and re-affirms our resolve to end child labour in all its forms and manifestations.”

The President said Article 11 (3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan guaranteed that “no child below the age of fourteen years shall be engaged in any factory or mine or any other hazardous employment. Furthermore, the federal and provincial laws forbade child labour, however, implementation of these laws needed to be strengthened at all levels.” The President said, “The entire nation needs to stand together to fight this evil.”

The child labour, President Alvi said, deprived children from receiving basic education and access to health facilities.

It exposed them to harmful and hazardous environments and clipped their basic rights to life and liberty, he added.

The President observed that the child labour was harmful to the physical and mental development of the children, compromised their dignity, prevented them from going to schooling, subjected them to excessively long and heavy work and in the worst-case scenario subjected them to slavery and separation from their families, he noted.

“The children illegally working in different jobs, in factories, enterprises, agriculture and homes are deprived of their childhood which they deserve and are subjected to worse working conditions,” he observed.

Alvi reaffirms Pakistan’s resolve to eradicate child labour

The President underlined that every child has a right to get education and better health and stressed the need to ensure that children were also provided a safe and secure environment around them.

“We can do so by strengthening capacity of the regulators to address the issue of child and bonded labour. The launch of effective and determined awareness campaign to sensitize the society on harmful effects of child labour is one important element to fight the menace of child labour,” the President said.

He emphasised that supporting of the federal and provincial authorities to enhance their capacities on data collection and analysis, promoting inter-agency cooperation and sharing knowledge and effective advocacy should also be pursued to counter this menace.

Meanwhile, President Alvi also expresses concern over rising wildfire incidents in the country and said that such incidents were causing huge financial loss to the nation, depriving the effects from their livelihood, subjecting the life and properties of the inhabitant at high risk, destroying the local fauna and flora, besides contributing in worsening the negative effects of climate change.

The President observed that most of the forest fire incidents are preventable as 85 percent of wild land fires are caused when the campfires and burning debris are left unattended, equipment use and malfunctions, negligently discarded cigarettes, and intentional acts of arson.

He said that regrettably, the wild fire disturbs the population of flora and fauna, eliminates the wild animals, destroys the habitats of birds and harms the fertility of the soil which hampers the growth and composition of vegetation, besides increasing the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, resulting in the emission of greenhouse gases.

He said that most of the wildfire incident could be prevented by taking simple precautions which included reporting unattended fires to the authorities, extinguishing fire pits and campfires when done, not throwing lit cigarettes out of your moving car, using caution when using flammable liquids and using fireworks in clear areas with no woods nearby.

The President advised the concerned authorities to refocus on prevention of wildfire strategies by strengthening coordination across sectors to reduce incidents of wildfire, investing in both fire suppression and prevention, implementing existing fire management techniques, improving wildfire data collection and analysis and by strengthening stakeholders’ coordination and preparedness.