Social Issue/Problem :( Pakistan) Pakistan as a nation is a developing country and consequently she faces a wide array of social problems: educational, economical, political, religious and a number of internal ethnic conflicts. However I believe that it is more important to address small issues first and then work towards the annihilation of the larger ones. After all small steps lead to big changes and transformations. Child Labour is a social issue within Pakistan and is considered a violation of human rights by the United Nations. Pakistani society is such that, a poor child can quite conveniently be deprived of basic education, only to feed the rest of his family members. Anyone up to the age of 18 is a child and his basic right is to receive education and proper upbringing rather than use his hands to destroy his own bright future. Children are especially exploited in the third world countries as they are a cheap source of labour and Pakistan children are used as labourers in the Sports Industry, Carpet Industry and the Footwear and in glassware production. According to the Federal Bureau of Statistics of Pakistan, 3.3 million out of 40 million children are working in various industries, although child labour is strictly prohibited by law. Child Labour is a serious social problem within Pakistan because the future and progress of any country depends on an educated and enlightened youth and if a child is not properly socialized then he/she will not be able to grow as confident and literate Pakistani citizens. There are various reasons for exploitation of children within the economic sector of Pakistan and such causes are directly related to the major social problems of Pakistan. Sociological Variables as the Causes of Child Labour in Pakistan:
The factors that generate child labour within Pakistan are parental poverty and illiteracy; an irresponsible political system; social and economic pressures; lack of education. Social attitudes in Pakistan due to which a child is considered an adult at quiet an early stage due to biological changes, also are a cause of exploitation of children below 18 years. Poverty is a major social issue within Pakistan and as a result children are made to work in various industries in order to support their financially poor parents. The status of the family directly influences the choices available to a child and obviously if a family is extremely poor with comparatively less resources then consequently, each member, be it a child or an adult will be required to work and bring in money in order to survive. The economic and family status in the rural areas of Pakistan id quite low and as a result children are forced to work in various manufacturing and tertiary industries and are also over-exploited.61.2 % of Pakistan is illiterate and poor education resulting in limited exposure to human rights is a major cause of child labour.
Education is a sociological variable and is of extreme importance because it emancipates a person from the grip of ignorance. However most people in the rural areas have no access to educational institutions and thus a child learns the tricks of trade from his father and instead of gaining education he chooses to work as a labourer or is at times forced by parents’ due to their own lack of basic knowledge. Pakistan does not have sound educational system under which a child can be adequately socialized into becoming a productive member of society. Education is not treated as a priority and inevitably child exploitation continues within our nation. Girls and boys are forced to work as domestic servants in the homes of the upper middle class or the richer elite. Thus class divisions become more prominent with the exploitation of the poor by the rich and this leads to an inequitable distribution of wealth and income. Pakistan is going through a serious social stratification problem and the rich continuesto get richer whereas the poor continues to get poorer. Girls are exploited within the rich households, are paid less and are often physically harassed by the male owners. This leads to further sex and gender related issues and thus child labour needs to be strongly curtailed. Pakistan needs a strong government and political structure to address the issue of child labour. However President Musharraf’s government is a military dictatorship which considers a nuclear programme a priority but banning child labour is not a serious issue for them. There are loopholes in the political structure of Pakistan and a weak government is a main cause of the denial of rights of the citizens of a country. Therefore children’s rights are largely ignored and deliberately avoided. For a positive change a democracy is needed which will fight against child labour through reformative action and laws and regulations. In Pakistan 7% of children working suffer from health problems and are physically abused as well by their owners. These are all structural problems within the social agencies of Pakistan which not only accelerate the rate of child labour but also set a precedent for other developing nations to follow.