ISLAMABAD-The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday issued notices to the Secretary Human Rights and other respondents in a petition seeking ban on child labour in the federal capital.

A single bench of IHC comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition moved by Tahira Gul through her counsel Yasir Mahmood Advocate and directed the respondents to submit their reply in this matter within a fortnight. In the petition, she cited Federal Secretary Human Rights, Chief Commissioner Islamabad, Deputy Commissioner and Director Labour as respondents.

The petitioner stated that she is a mother and a socially concerned lady who feels grief for children working in auto workshops, stores, shopping stalls and restaurants where they face mental, physical and sexual abuse and harassment at the hands of their employers/ staff.

Advocate Yasir adopted, “The issue of child labour in federal capital is very grave. They are considered to be a source of cheap labour at auto workshops, hotels, shops and brick kilns.” He argued, “All children belong to state which has the responsibility to put in place a system to protect their rights. A child’s basic need is education rather than being forced to work.” The counsel added that the child faces the brutality of their owners and general public which damages their self-esteem and the respondents have not taken any effective measure to eradicate this social evil.

The petitioner contended, “No step yet taken by the respondents to curb child labour in Islamabad and the respondents have not formulated the child protection policy in the city and it is failure on their part.”

Therefore, he prayed to the court to direct all the respondents to put a complete ban on child labour in Islamabad to save them from exploitation.

He also requested the court to direct the respondents to implement constitutional guarantees concerning child rights provided in the Constitution of 1973 in the best interest of justice.