The murder of eight-year-old Zohra by her employers is perhaps the umpteenth incident telling us that we are not looking out for child rights in the country. Zohra’s death is another addition to the list of kids who lost their lives to the rage of their employers.

The government machinery came in motion as soon as the incident made it to social media. The Ministry of Human Rights has made contact with the police and the ministry’s lawyer is reportedly keeping pace with the case. What the ministry’s stance does not clarify is if the state institution will be actively deputing its legal counsel to prosecute the suspects. The quick response by the Ministry of Human Rights is worth appreciating, however. Sadly, successive governments have failed in implementing laws that prevent child labour, which one of the major reasons for abuse.

What compels the state not to take action against such instances? Given that these decisions can only be made by capable adults, those that facilitate the employment of children are the ones to blame. The book must be thrown at both parents and employers. Though Punjab and Sindh have broader legislation against child labour, both provinces along with Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa must deal with the issue of child domestic labour as well.

Just tabling or passing a bill or resolution from the respective assemblies does not stop the exploitation of children. We have already seen this in Punjab where the absence of a regulatory body renders the Punjab Domestic Workers Act unenforced. The government must know that an unimplemented legal framework will allow employers to abuse children. Nonetheless, the need is to bring urgent and required attitudinal, behavioural, social and

legal changes. The government owes this to the children.