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June 24, 2021

Minors forced to work as labourers at PEF school

MULTAN: Minor students were forced to work as labourers at a Punjab Education Foundation (PEF)-funded school on orders of the husband of the principal, The News has learnt on Wednesday.

The parents and relatives of the students urged the authorities concerned to take action against the principal of Hamidpur Kanora Dhup Sarri School and her husband when they watched their kids working as labourers at an under-construction structure of the school at Hamidpur Kanora in sizzling heat on social media. According to locals, M Shahid, the husband of school principal Shazia, allegedly forced under age students to carry bricks for the construction of a structure of the school. Reportedly, when the post of the news went viral on social media, then parents rushed to the school where they were not allowed to see their kids.

Talking to The News, principal Shazia said her husband asked a few children to carry bricks from one place to another for the construction of their house. She said it was the work of five minutes and students’ parents had scandalised the act of her husband. She said a media hype had been created to harm their reputation. The students were of the view that the teacher forced them to carry bricks and the school administration would expel them from the school for the reaction of their parents and relatives.

Moj Ali, father of a student, said the school charged Rs 50 fee per week from every student. Reportedly, the condition of several children deteriorated and the accused threatened the parents of dire consequences for uploading the video of the incident on social media. Talking to The News, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) council member Nazir Ahmed said forcing students to work like labourers was an illegal act and it was the worst kind of human rights violation.

He demanded the education authorities, police and administration take action and stop occurrence of such incidents in future. The HRCP urged education authorities to suspend the school principal, her husband and conduct an impartial probe. When contacted, City Police Officer (CPO) Munir Marth said the police were taking action against the accused. However, he said the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB) was responsible to combat such violations.

Whereas Multan CPWB official Muhammad Naveed said the district education authorities were responsible to stem such violations instead of the CPWB and Multan CEO education Shamsher Ahmed was not available for comment.