Amid the fast deteriorating socio-economic indicators, Pakistan has slipped downward several rungs of the ladder of Global Kids Rights Index. It has been ranked 154th among the nations that are signatory to the United Nations Convention on Rights of Children (CRS). It scored dismally on all five indices of Child Rights, scoring 0,547 in Right to Life, 0,511 Right to Health, 0,405 in Right to Education, 0,567 in Right to Protection and 0,643 in enabling favourable environment for Child rights.
The Prime Minister had talked about issues of malnutrition and stunted growth in millions of children in his first speech after taking oath of office. But a beginning is yet to be made to address this issue impacting the life of current and future generations. No doubt it were the economic policies and corrupt practices of the previous civilian governments that largely contributed to this grim situation. But people genuinely expect the measures from the PTI government to break this vicious circle by poverty alleviation programmes and provision of better health facilities free of cost to the poor people and at affordable cost to the middle income ones.
The rampant poverty has resulted in child labour and its rate is on the rise. Laws enacted against the forced child labour are not brought into action by the government against the influential violators from the feudal class in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. In the industrial sector, child labours are paid much less than the minimum wage and they are compelled to remain on work for longer hours. Violence against domestic child servants is common which is sometimes reported on electronic media.
Previous PTI government in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa took the lead by launching a programme “Education for All” and completed successful campaign for increasing enrolment in government schools. The enrolment drive is still on and a second shift has been introduced in the Higher Secondary Schools. Punjab government followed the suit and the enrolment ratio has reached well over 80 percent. However, the dropout rate has not declined. The factors responsible for the dropout of enrolled students must be addressed as according to Article -25 of the constitution provision of education to children is a basic fundamental right of the people.