Finally. Let my people go!
After years of efforts Rescue Christians accomplished, thanks to all of our partners, contributors and financial supporters, Pakistan government is now saying that they are releasing the enslaved children.
It is a good step, but should we believe them?
After much pressure and testimonies provided by anti-slavery activists like Rescue Christians and others, Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif regarding child labour from brick kilns vowed that this menace will be eliminated from the society. He said that child labour will be eliminated from the province and the children will be equipped with education. They are also claiming that more than 31 thousand children working on brick kilns have now been enrolled in schools and reiterated that all children working on brick kilns will be brought to schools for education.
Should we believe that Pharaoh “let my people go”?
The reports declared that the slave owners are irate. Owners of brick kilns across the province went on strike from February 26 to March 4 in protest against arrest of owners under the Child Labour Act. They threatened that if no action is taken, then kilns will be shut down and no bricks will be sold between March 4 and March 18.
Have we seen any of such strikes? No.
They also claimed that “Children of kiln workers across the Punjab now will get stipend under Special Educational Package (SEP) as Punjab Urban Unit is presently conducting a survey to know the exact number of children of kiln workers”.
Should we believe them?
Researcher Barrister Malik Aneeq Ali Khatana exposes the real issue:
the government does not yet have the capacity to actually enforce the scheme and provide quality education to those children. There are no statistics showing how many children taken from brick kilns have actually been rehabilitated and sent to schools … Child labour exists in many different sectors, but the emphasis has been only on the brick industry due to the recent international attention and pressure being put on the government.
In other words, just because Pakistan’s waters “turned into media blood,” we should wait till the “first unborn is visited by the angel of death”. Pharaoh will not easily let my children go.
While it is not the Pakistani government’s wish that slavery of Christians to be practiced, it is his magicians, the imams in mosques, who permit slavery in accordance to Sharia law. But the government finding its hands tied, has to create a public image in response to public outcry. Rescue Christians does not believe these reports until ample evidence is shown. Therefore, we will pray for frogs, bugs, wild animals, pestilence, boils, hail, locust, darkness, and their first born and then we will believe it.
Until then, we will continue the fight.