There is limited data available on child labour prevalence in Pakistan as the last national level Child Labour Survey was conducted in 1996. Since then, another survey was launched in
Despite laws against child labour, both national and international, the practice remains rampant in Pakistan. Minors are not only routinely employed in domestic work but are often victims of abuse at the hands of employers. The case of Zohra Shah, the seven-year-old who was beaten to death by her employers looms large on the public consciousness. While there are local laws that restrain underage employment, none of them are unified with respect to age for purposes of child labour with the majority of them defining a child as being either below the age of 14 or 15. This is in contradiction to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international instrument that has been ratified by Pakistan. The Convention defines a child as being below the age of 18.
PILAP has submitted an RTI application to the National Commission on the Rights of the Child under the Ministry of Human Rights inquiring into the measures taken to ensure that the definition of a “child” is brought within the ambit of Pakistan’s international commitments; the decision making process with regard to the rationale as to why national and Provincial laws continue to define a child as being below the age of eighteen; and measures taken by the National Commission on the Rights of the Child and/or the Ministry of Human Rights to ensure that children below the age of eighteen are not engaged in work that is likely to interfere with their education, or that is likely to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.