Gharida Farooqi, the Pakistani journalist and television host, has been in news (literally) for quite some time now. Earlier today, a telephone call between Miss Farooqi and allegedly a woman who provided her with the 15 year old household help, Sonia, surfaced. It has caught quite a stir on the internet as well as in the media.
Gharida is reportedly booked on a court order after she was accused of not paying her 15 year old maid, three months worth of salary and torturing her
The call is inundated with abuses and threats hurled at the woman who provided Gharida with the house help. It is also reported that Gharida demanded 40,000 rupees for the release of Sonia.
According to the call, Gharida Farooqi states that she has spent 40,000 rupees on Sonia’s food and living since she was a full time maid and until that amount is returned to her, she won’t return Sonia to her parents.
There are reports that a petition was launched against Gharida for illegal and improper custody of Sonia and for allegedly beating the child
The woman on the other end claims that she herself has seen bruises on Sonia’s body and that Gharida hasn’t let her see her parents in months to which Gharida responds with a barrage of abuses
According to her parents, Sonia’s life is in imminent danger. They stated in the court that Gharida doesn’t let them meet her and has withheld her salary as well.
People on Pakistani social media have obviously picked on the news and have a lot to say about this controversial revelation
Gharidah Farooqi lands in hot water over domestic child abuse. Allegedly, Ms Farooqi demanded 40000 PKR to release her domestic worker.
— Ali Salman Alvi (@alisalmanalvi) July 24, 2017
Some of them are appalled at the alleged hypocrisy
— Karachiabad (@Karachiabad) July 24, 2017
Some are doubting the authenticity of this particular piece of news
Gharida Farooqi's news is aired by ARY — rival of every other news channel — so believing it without a confirmation would be unfair.
— Abdullah Nizamani (@lawyerwrites) July 24, 2017
While as far as this case is concerned, it’s up to the court to decide how authentic this whole revelation is, the fact that child abuse and child labor is rampant in the country cannot be denied. Laborious long hours for meager pay that barely help in making ends meet characterize a quintessential day in the life of a domestic worker in Pakistan. This particular section of the society, even today – despite working tirelessly day in, day out – is bereft of the most basic of the labor laws including the minimum wage laws, social security and respectable life.
Even though, a major chunk of the population of Pakistan resorts to household enslavement in an attempt to fill their empty stomachs, there are no specific laws to protect their rights.
Currently, there are over 8.5 million domestic workers in Pakistan of which most of them are women and teenage girls who struggle everyday with uncalled for sexual and violent action.
According to an ILO – International Labor Organization – study in 2004, there were as many as 264,000 child domestic workers in Pakistan and currently 22.6 million kids are out of school.
People tend to forget that in Pakistan, the minimum age for employment is set at the age of completion of compulsory schooling (Article 2, paragraph 3), which, according to Article 25 – A of the Constitution of Pakistan, is set as 16 years.
Education has been made free and compulsory for all children up to the age of 16 years thereby making it illegal to hire minor house helps. It is about time that we address this issue of children being kept out of schools and beign enslaved and tortured because poverty in our country is so bad that children are taken out of schools so they can be an extra earning hand in the household.