By: Hanif Ullah
ISLAMABAD: Working children are in hazardous condition on both sides of Pak-Afghan border Torkham near Landikotal. The personnel deployed at the border some time torture these working children when they enter Afghanistan or Pakistan while carrying goods on their backs or push carts. The working children are used by afghan and Pakistani traders and smugglers as tool to carry their goods either from Pakistan or Afghanistan. These traders play with the lives of these children and destroy the future of working children on Torkham border.
Although dozens of International human rights and Non Government organizations drive their campaigns for protecting human rights in Pakistan and Afghanistan but no one of them could provide financial support to these working children’s parents to make them able to send their children to schools that they could make their future bright. One can see these children using handcart, push carts and someone who don’t have money to buy the carts use their “backs” for the people luggage and smuggling goods to be transported to Pakistan or Afghanistan.
Some time these children are used by drug smugglers when the Opium, Hashish and Heroine peddlers use these children’s push carts to smuggle these drugs into Pakistan. The children don’t know about the luggage of travelers but they catch the luggage of these travelers to earn money for their families.
Sometime before a 9 year old boy Noor Khitab was arrested by Khasadar Force personnel when they recovered 8 KG Hashish from the Ghee tins which he was transporting to Pakistan. The children was in the custody of Landikotal Administration for some hours but was released because no authority can arrest the children below the age of 18 under the laws of International convention on child rights.
A 12 years old boy, Shoeb who was the resident of Laghman province, “kas” district of Afghanistan working on Torkham border said this scribe that due to poverty he was compelled to work and support his family. Shoeb is presently living in Torkham on pakistani side said that I earn Rs.500 to Rs.1000 and his father was not able to work due to illness.
Dawood another ,15 years old of boy from Afghanistan’s Laghman province said that his parents were poor and were not in the position to afford my education, so I work and pulling a hand cart to earn bread for my family.
Replying a question, whether the forces deployed on border punish him or not, he said that some time when he run to enter Pakistani side Torkham carrying goods in the cart, Khasadar personnel (A force deployed on Pakistan border Torkham) beat them with sticks.
In the age of 14 years another boy Abdul Hadi, of Ningarhar province “Daka” district said that his father was very poor and he support his family earning by his handcart in Torkham.
According to a Non Government Organization Terre Des Homme (TDH)working on Afghanistan side Torkham, more than thirteen hundred children are working across the border in which 30 percent are the girls child laborers ageing from 7 to 15 years.
Political party leaders and social activists have demanded the border authorities to take serious notice of this issue and order their personnel not to torture the working children on border and launch initiates to finance the parents of working children to send their children to schools.