Anti-tobacco bill to result in child labour

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Staff Reporter

Peshawar—The educational ventures for under-privileged children in nearly two dozen schools in the three districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be closed down, exposing thousands of children to child labour as well as increasing school dropouts ratio, as a result of a controversial anti-tobacco bill that presently awaits parliament’s nod, a top official affiliated with social sector has cautioned.
Speaking to Pakistan Observer, District Manager Idara-e-Taaleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) Amjad Khan Khattak said the closure of summer camps in 21 government schools in Mardan, Charsadda and Swabi would be imminent in case Prohibition of Smoking & Protection of Non-Smokers Bill 2016, seeking ban on social welfare activities by the tobacco companies, gets passed by the Senate.
“The ITA holds three-month summer camp in June, July and August every year where hundreds of children belong to poor masses acquire free education. If this bill gets passed, these children would be forced back into child labour. We are conducting such educational activities since 2010. Resultantly, there has been a tremendous slash in the number of school dropouts. All of this would be reversed if funding from the tobacco sector is stopped” he said.