Kudos to social media activism and consistent follow ups by TV channels on Tayyaba’s torture case. One may presume that the culprit would be dismissed or punished but will it actually make a difference in the lives of millions of girls like Tayyaba, who feed the menace of a generally-accepted child and bonded labour system. It’s very depressing to see that the whole system has rotten to the core. It was after pressure from social media and the lodging of a formal complaint that Tayyaba was taken to PIMS for a medical check-up. They came up with a detailed torture report when ordered by the Supreme Court only, previously failing to recognise it as a torture case. A lawyer was appointed on behalf of Tayyaba’s father, Azam. He prepared an agreement under which he ‘unconditionally’ pardons ADSJ’s family. Being illiterate, Azam was totally unaware of the content of the document but still he affixed his thumb impression. A police man removed the SIM from Azam’s phone thus robbing every one of the opportunity to call all those who were involved. 

This all shows the level of wickedness on part of the lower judiciary, lawyers, medical staff, police and the member parliament. A single Suo Motu notice can’t solve the core issue – millions of children are working as bonded labour in Punjab’ brick kilns, on the fields of Sindh’s landlords, in small restaurants and tea stalls, in auto workshops, in factories and cottage industries, on fish harbours and as garbage pickers. We all see thousands of children like Tayyaba and their siblings working around us and move on as if it’s someone else’s problem. 

MASOOD KHAN,  

Saudi Arab, January 20.