Sidra Ayan

PESHAWAR: On the International Workers Day, it is important to remember that a large number of labourers in Pakistan include women, elderly people and also children.

One doesn’t stop lecturing others that work should not be taken from elderly people, child labour is illegal, and it is better for a woman to look after household tasks, but poverty is such a nuisance that when it engulfs a family then difference among men, women, elderly and children just diminishes and everyone has to work to make ends meet.

Child labour is illegal on paper, but children could be seen working at automobile workshops, hotels, shops, sale points and other places everywhere in the country. Poverty-stricken children can’t go to school even if they want to get education.

More than half of Pakistan’s population comprises women who are also working in agriculture, textiles, embroidery, handicrafts, construction and several other sectors in a bid to support their families.

According to data compiled by different non-governmental organisations, there are more than 20 million home-based workers, including over 14 million women, in Pakistan who prepare finished products from raw material. Incentives for such workers is a far cry, and they even don’t get their basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan and international charters. And women workers also face harassment, exploitation, torture and many other problems besides low wages.

A large number of girls are working in houses of well off people has housemaids. Parents had to send their girls for word to homes of others due to poverty. These girls had to do work at the age during which they should be in school. Reports of torture and mistreatment of housemaids, particularly the young ones, are common. Besides that, countless incidents of torture and misbehaviour with housemaids go unreported due to fear of adverse reaction from employers. Looking down upon the housemaids, giving them stale food, old clothes, and constantly reminding them about the so-called ‘benefits’ of working is a common practice.

People should realise that workers are also human beings and they also have all kinds of feelings and emotions which should not be insulted just because they are poor. It is a blessing of Almighty if someone is well off and this blessing can be recognised best by helping out the people in need, particularly the workers who work more and earn less.

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