Take the pledge to vote

For a better tommorow#AajSawaroApnaKal
  • I agree to receive emails from News18

  • I promise to vote in this year's elections no matter what the odds are.
  • Please check above checkbox.

    SUBMIT

Thank you for
taking the pledge

But the job is not done yet!
Vote for the deserving candidate this year.

Check your mail to know more

Disclaimer:

Issued in public interest by HDFC Life. HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (Formerly HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited) (“HDFC Life”). CIN: L65110MH2000PLC128245, IRDAI Reg. No. 101 . The name/letters "HDFC" in the name/logo of the company belongs to Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited ("HDFC Limited") and is used by HDFC Life under an agreement entered into with HDFC Limited. ARN EU/04/19/13618
SPONSORED BY
LIVE TV DownloadNews18 App
News18 English
Powered by cricketnext logo
»
2-min read

Beaten, Dumped in Drain: How Murder of Teen Maid Pushed Pakistan to Soul Search on Domestic Workers' Rights

In Pakistan, 8.5 million domestic workers -- including many children -- labour for wealthier families according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

AFP

Updated:April 2, 2019, 8:52 AM IST
facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp
Beaten, Dumped in Drain: How Murder of Teen Maid Pushed Pakistan to Soul Search on Domestic Workers' Rights
File photo of Uzma, who was murdered by her employer.
Loading...
Lahore: The battered body of 16-year-old servant Uzma Bibi was found dumped in a canal and her wealthy employer charged with murder, the latest case highlighting the dangers domestic workers -- especially children -- face in Pakistan.

Police said Uzma died after blows to the head with a kitchen utensil. She had been working for the family in Lahore for eight months when she was killed in January this year.

Her employer and two other women remain in custody as a police investigation into the murder and allegations of mistreatment drags on.

"I will not give up, I prefer death, I will not let them go, I want to see them pay for what they did," Uzma's distraught father, Muhammad Riaz, told AFP.

The teenager earned just 4,000 rupees ($28) per month.

In Pakistan, 8.5 million domestic workers -- including many children -- labour for wealthier families according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

"Parents often see their children as a way to lift their families out of poverty," explained Arooma Shahzad, general secretary of the Domestic Workers' Union, the country's first -- and still its only -- such organisation.

But domestic workers often face exploitation, violence, and sexual abuse. Pakistan’s patriarchal culture, with its rigid social class structure, often prevents them from having a voice.

Children are particularly vulnerable, and Uzma's case is the latest in a growing number of incidents involving minors.

In 2016 a Pakistani judge and his wife were imprisoned for torturing their 10-year-old maid, while in 2017 a famous TV presenter was charged for forcefully detaining her teenage maid.

"Minors who become domestic workers often find themselves in a very vulnerable position, the target of abuse and exploitation by their employers," warned Shahzad.

Theoretically it is illegal to employ anyone under the age of 15 in Pakistan, but it remains a common practice.

Saba, 15, had to leave school to work as a maid in Lahore.

"I do not really have a choice, I have to work in two homes every day (to help) my family," she said.

Her younger sister is expected to follow in her footsteps soon.

- 'Lack of humanity' -

Details of Uzma's murder were sensationally revealed during a popular TV show, during which presenter Mukarram Kaleem made a passionate plea for justice.

The tragic story gave rise to a torrent of outrage on social media with many using the #JusticeforUzma hashtag, and a broader debate on the rights of domestic workers in Pakistan, including children.

For Shahzad, such incidents denote a lack of "humanity".

"We do not even consider our servants as human beings," she lamented.

In December 2018, the increasing number of cases of ill-treatment led the parliament of Punjab province to set regulations for the employment of domestic workers, which theoretically grants them rights such as sick leave and holidays.

Lawyer Sheraz Zaka admitted it was only a "first step", but hopes it will pave the way for more controls and a "better balance" of power.

The law is still in its infancy and does not cover the other provinces of Pakistan. Because servants are often illiterate, many are unaware of such changes to their rights, or unable to insist employers adopt the new rules.

For Kaleem, it is urgent for Pakistan to re-examine how it treats domestic workers.

He said: "People are starting to realise and talk about it. There is more awareness among people that it is not the way to treat servants, and that they have to change their ways."

Read full article
Loading...
Next Story
Next Story

Also Watch

facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp
 
T&C Apply. ARN EU/04/19/13626
 

Live TV

Loading...
Countdown To Elections Results
  • 01 d
  • 12 h
  • 38 m
  • 09 s
To Assembly Elections 2018 Results