Eight thousands brick-kiln owners across Punjab province will launch jail-bharo-Tehreek (fill the jails) from February 1 (tomorrow) if the government does not stop arrests and registration of cases against brick-kiln owners “under made-up charges of child labour.”

All-Pakistan Kiln Association central President Shoaib Khan Niazi stated while addressing a convention of the kiln owners here the other day.

He threatened that kiln owners would stop sale of bricks from February 5 to 15 in the second phase to raise voice against “what he called” the imposition of Child Labour Ordinance 2016 forcibly. “In the name of child labour, the police and other departments are harassing the brick-kiln owners although the owners are committed to eradicating the menace of child labour,” he claimed.

Mr Niazi pointed out that 70 percent kiln owners are the voters and supporters of the PML-N “but it seems some imprudent advisers have misguided the government about the kiln owners. “The recent crackdown on kiln industry is a gross violation of democratic norms and tantamount to police gardi,” he regretted. Shoaib Niazi claimed that the government passed the child labour ordinance without taking brick-kiln owners on board. Moreover, he claimed that he had contact the Labour secretary several times and put his reservations forward in a bid to resolve the issue amicably, but still raids on brick-kilns and arrest of its owners continues.

The central president warned that if the situation remains so they would be compelled to launch a mass protest across Punjab under the “leadership of MNAs or MPAs.’

Speaking the participants, central General Secretary Mehr Abdul Haq alleged that it seems the government wants to destroy brick-kiln industry. He claimed that if the government continues its aggressive posture, 20 million people related to brick-kiln industry are likely to lose their jobs and “the Punjab government will be responsible for it.”