President Arif Alvi Saturday on World Day Against Child Labour paid tribute to Iqbal Masih, a young Christian Pakistani who became a symbol of the fight against child labour in the late 90s.
Arif Alvi took to Twitter to highlight the plight of child workers and their battles. In his message the president said:
"We must differentiate between Child Work and Child Labor in Pakistan. Child Labor deprives children of their childhood, their dignity, interferes with their education, and is harmful for their physical, moral, and mental development," he said, adding, "Child Work provides necessary skills to be useful. It helps poor families, but definitely, children must continue with education. We abhor Child Labour but understand Child Work in Pakistan. Don't get confused, one is dignified the other is exploitative."
President Alvi urged the elite to not employ children for household work:
"I urge the elite not to employ children for household work or any work but ensure love & education in all interaction with children. The battle in Pakistan continues & has been led by many including our child hero & a great son of the soil Iqbal Masih #WorldDayAgainstChildLabour."
Minister of Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari also issued a video statement to mark the day. She said Pakistan's constitution does not allow children younger than 14-year to be employed in any capacity.
"Those who employ under-aged children are not only violating Pakistani Law but also Pakistan's commitments to the international law and convention on children's rights," she added.
She urged the masses to be proactive in reporting cases of Child Labour to the Minister of Human Rights helpline 1099.
Note: Young Iqbal Masih was murdered on 16 April 1995 after he became a symbol for the struggle against child labor and in 2000, he received the first World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child posthumously.