Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Child labour & TKO (Target Killing Order in karachi)
The poor people of my dear country have become used to bear injustices. It will be a miracle if ever they succeed in getting justice. However, there is a glimmer of hope that with the restoration of independent judiciary people may succeed in getting justice.
How are the poor passing their lives? Have anyone ever thought about it? When a labourer returns home from his work place, he has to hear the sobs of the little ones amidst cries that tonight they have nothing to eat. This pain which the labourer suffers while entering his house can only be felt by those alone who have suffered the pangs of poverty.
Recently Karachi has come under Fire Zone, which is known as Target killing resorted to by the groups keen on getting power control on Karachi.
People here kill others as if they have only been born to be gunned down. During the days of dictator Musharraf, Karachi had MQM, ANP and the Muslim League-Q as the main power players. Now only the third power player, PML-Q, has been replaced by the PPP.
There was time that no one had heard about target killings. Everyone was living in peace. Now we daily hear about the target killings and the numbers of deaths are mounting. Many people hold the view that target killings are being resorted to fulfill two main purposes which are to weaken the People’s Party in Sindh and to hold full power in Karachi.
On 2nd August, 2010, an MPA of MQM, Raza Haider, was shot dead by unidentified persons. After his death a killing spree continued for three days resulting in the death of over a hundred people, and large scale destruction. It seemed that a civil war was going on. Karachiites know well how was life in Karachi during those three days where government order completely collapsed and the only rule which reigned was Target Killing Order (TKO) which resulted in unabated killings.
After three days the life returned to normalcy but tension prevailed. I decided to travel by local transport so that I could analyse the real face of the city. While standing at NIPA bus stop I could see silent crowd moving around with fear on their faces. It seemed that people knew who are behind these murder killings but they were not allowed to speak the truth. I felt as if I was watching a horror filled movie instead of love moving crowds of people. I also saw small kids belonging to 9-10 age group. They were shouting ‘Boot Polish’ ‘Boot Police’, oblivious of the fact that Karachi was bleeding under TKO, to earn for the members of the family.
The elder boy tried to board a bus at Super Hussain Zaie, but unfortunately the conductor ordered them not to board the bus and stay away. Six little boys looked at one another and said (in typical Urdu) Okay Yaar, leave it and let’s wait for one another.
“I need only one cigarette for smoking”, said a boy and they all started enjoying the puff. One of them, a little cute boy came towards me and stood besides me. He was looking worried and was playing with his hands.
When I passed a smile at him he quickly responded and inquired from me if I was going to office. I replied yes then he said worriedly: Oh No …… Situation of the city is not good and then asked why are you here? Advising me to go home.
Then I asked him if I ought to be at home then why does not he go home. He sadly replied: “Yes, Baji, I want to but I have to earn some money for my household. During three days of strike I had no work and I could not earn any money for my family and they had very little to eat because they are dependent on me”. While rubbing his face with his little hands and looking at his feet he continued his conversation: “Therefore Baji if I don’t find any work my family eat one time meal instead.”
Then I asked how he managed during these three days. He shook his shoulders and said painfully: “Simply we had to manage with one time meal a day and prayed for the end of strike. We have now become used to living in such kind of circumstances.”
I asked him how much he earned in a day. He said: ‘Baji you don’t know now people have become clever. They mostly cheat us because we are small kids…...” I cut him short and said: “Yes you are a small kid”. He immediately retorted: “No, No I am not a kid” But after a little while he himself admitted that he was a kid but as he had to earn for the family instead of his elders, that’s why he was an elder.
He continued with his shaky smile: “So I was telling you about my earning that some of the people cheat us but those who were searching jobs for them and dating with girls, turn out to be more generous, some times they give us extra money and as a result we earn 80 or 90 rupees a day or some time more than that. I go with only 70 rupees and sometime 60 rupees.
It was too astonishing for me, before I asked him he replied himself that there were many looters on the roads, we call them Bhai Log. They snatch half of our earnings. He whispered Baji look at that traffic officer he always takes money from each bus and his partners also policemen snatch from us. Some of the other young gang boys also beat us and take away our money. You don’t know, we have many looters, sometimes I ask my Amma (Mother), are we earning for the looters? Then, I asked him so, what his mother said. She just reply, Allah will see them. Then his bus came and he boarded it saying: “Bye, Baji.”
I am still thinking that poverty not only gives one time meal or half of Roti (Bread) but poverty also perishes dreams before getting birth. After 2nd August everyone had been discussing about riots in Karachi but have we ever thought of those labourers who work on daily wages, have we heard any voice against child labour? How are children facing all these troubles? Sadly we remember when a day for child labour comes, we write stories and yearly data based reports finally are summed up with demands that the Government and international organisations should do this and that. How can I forget that our gigantic organisation UNO, which verily beat drums for human rights, but actually is favouring all the injustices against human rights. On one side child labour is condemned, but on the other same crime is being committed. So how can we say social organisation is playing its role? I don’t want to write more at this point, but simply ask if you all are committed towards removal of injustices simply child labour, why are our innocent kids killing their childhood and working as labourers?
Karachi again was under riots because on 19th August, a political leader of ANP was shot dead and the whole city was shut down. We all know Pakistan is passing through worst situation of floods where people are facing worst disaster of their lives. We should now put away the gun of target killings and try to solve hordes of problems of the flood affectees.
Now those who rely on daily wages how will manage to get meal? In our world some of the people look towards poverty with glasses and issue sympathetic statements to the press without doing anything actually. They don’t have sympathy towards the poor and deprived people of society.
Waves of anguish can only be felt by those who have crossed it.
I feel, people of this land, are facing worst time of their life after flood and rising riots by spiteful minds. These disasters can only give us one more thing and that is more poverty, in which our dreams will die.
So the young generation of my dear homeland will see increase in the number of child labour until and unless the philanthropists and the well to do feel the pangs and cries of the little children crying “Boot Polish….Boot Polish” in streets of their cities to earn a meal a day for their families. Pain and poverty has always same stories only characters change but weeping voices remain the same.