Islamabad court forms commission to investigate bonded labour cases

Shut businesses if you must, says chief justice
Photo: Online
Photo: Online

The Islamabad High Court has formed a commission to investigate cases of bonded labour in Pakistan.

The commission, headed by the Islamabad deputy commissioner, has been given a month to review the rights of labourers.

"We want you to tell us after a month that there is not a single case of forced labour in the country," remarked Chief Justice Athar Minallah while hearing the case on Saturday.

"Close as many businesses as you want but forced labour won't be tolerated anymore," he said.

Seven children and two adults were recovered from a brick kiln in Islamabad on the court's orders. The chief justice inquired about them. They were presented in court at 11am.

"The State should ensure the education of the children and their overall welfare," Justice Minallah added. "There is no bigger injustice than forcing children into bonded labour."

The court ordered authorities to conduct audits of all brick kilns in Pakistan.

Brick kiln owner arrested

The owner of the brick kiln was arrested on December 31 after the high court was informed that children working as labourers at his kiln have gone missing.

He was accused of holding them hostage and was forcing them to work for him, a police official said. No one was allowed to leave the kiln.

The deputy commissioner said the owner will not be released till the children are safely rescued.

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