WDF condemns the brutal killing of Zohra Shah and demands justice for her family. WDF calls for immediate action to ban child labour in Pakistan, with punitive measures against anyone who employs children. WDF calls for constitutionally guaranteed basic income, living wage, universal health and education for all, and housing for the working class that ensures that no family will have to sell their children into slavery. We also demand rehabilitate children who have worked as domestic workers.
On June 1st, two residents of Bahria Town Phase VIII in Rawalpindi beat their seven-year-old domestic worker to death as punishment for freeing birds from a cage . This is not the first of these incidents in recent history which has seen similar cases of violence against child domestic workers including Areej Fatima (8 years old), Uzma (16 years old) and Tayyaba (10 years old). Child domestic worker live under slavery. Media reports suggest an emerging pattern of exploitation and violence against working class children: the DHAs and Bahrias have become the new enslaving and killing fields of working class children – first the the elite and middle class living in these colonies buy them in slavery for a few thousands, and then they brutally torture or kill them!
Women’s Democratic Front strongly condemns these cases and sees them as part of a wider pattern of patriarchal, classist violence againstthe working class. WDF condemns all reformist solutions to violence against child labourers. Instead, the WDF demands that child labour is banned and criminalised in Pakistan, and that employers (*not* working class parents) face severe punitive measures.
WDF also condemns increased prevalence of extreme poverty, which forces parents to sell their children into slavery. To ensure that this is never necessary, the WDF demands constitutionally guaranteed basic income, living wage, universal health and education for all, and housing for the working class that ensures no one falls under a minimum living standard.
We see increased poverty and loss of livelihoods as a product of our destructive social and economic structures, and the State absolving itself from the responsibility of providing basic income and social protection to those vulnerable to double burden of patriarchy and capitalism. Increasing patriarchal violence in society and murders in the DHAs and Bahria Towns of Pakistan are a direct result of this inaction.
The WDF is a feminist, socialist, multinationalist, and anti-capitalist organisation which recognises that the murder of Zohra Shah reflects a deeply entrenched system of patriarchal, classist violence in Pakistan.