SIALKOT 
The International Labour Organisation praised the Sialkot business community for successfully completing the Child Labour Elimination Programme in soccer ball industry of Sialkot .During a special acknowledgment ceremony held at the auditorium of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the ILO vowed to continue its support and technical assistance to make Sialkot free from child labour after the success of the Programme.ILO Country Director Mr Francesco d’ Ovidio made this assurance while addressing the participants. The ILO organised the ceremony at Sialkot in connection with the World Day against Child labour 2013 to be celebrated today.Director ILO added that this mega event was a land mark in the history of Sialkot’s soccer ball industry, when ILO acknowledged splendid and sincere efforts of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Child and Social Development Organisation, besides highlighting the marvelous success story of programme.He revealed that Sialkot business community purged soccer ball industry from child labour with full devotion, dedication and complete peace of mind in several years, he added. Then US President Mr Bill Clinton had also highly hailed the splendid efforts of Sialkot business community for successfully implementing the programme and purging the Sialkot’s soccer ball industry from child labour, he said.During a workshop organised to observe the World Day against Child Labour 2013, Mr Francesccod’Ovidio commended Ms Farzana Hassan for her passion and dedication to fight child labour through education. “She is not only a role model for her community but also for women in other places, demonstrating that commitments can bring positive changes to the community and address complex issues like child labour,” he said. “This is one example of how an ILO project to address child labour from soccer ball industry. This success could be replicated in other areas and sectors, such as child domestic worker, who should be taken out of work and placed into schools.” He further said that the provincial governments should make efforts to legislate and make efforts to protect children suffering in domestic work. “Child domestic labour is often invisible and unacknowledged. Nonetheless, the instances of child labour in domestic work are quite common. Child domestic labour deprives children of adequate education, health, freedom and also violates their basic right.Addressing the participants, Hassnat Javaid (Director General Labour and  Human Resources Department Punjab) and Zaki Ahmed Khan (Acting President of Employers’ Federation of Pakistan-EFP) thanked ILO , Punjab Government and Employers’ Federation of Pakistan for their initiative to highlight success story Three best case studies were presented at the workshop from the ILO’s past soccer ball project. First, Mr Mehrbaan Ali, an ex-child labourer in the soccer ball industry, who is now running an educational academy and also completing his master education spoke in English. He narrated his story that he started from being a child labour in soccer ball industry and then how ILO established school gave him an opportunity to pursue education and go for a brighter future.  Chaudhary Rehmatullah, Chief Coordinator, Pakistan Workers Federation, appreciated the role of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce & Industries in proactively making efforts to address child labour from the soccer ball industry in Sialkot . He also said that workers need to be offered better wages so they could send their children to school instead of labour. He said many employers in Sialkot have recognised the role of workers and have given them minimum wages, which has helped in prosperity of workers. He said that in addition to the child labour, workers also have many issues, including non-application of minimum wage, workers registration with the social protection institutions. He said that the enforcement of labour laws in the Punjab province is very limited.On the occasion, the Sialkot business community hoped that the efforts would achieve the ultimate aim and objective of putting end to child labour in the entire country and ensuring 100 percent literacy. “Protection of child rights and best available facilities to our children has to be our priority and we looked forward towards the Pakistani Government, ILO and other organisations to support us in this endeavor. We are fully committed to support all efforts in providing quality education to our children on which depends future of the nation,” they added.