A civil rights movement for sanitation workers
September 13, 2022
Can we agree?
September 28, 2022
Parbhu could be your son.
Be gentle, kind and respectful. Parbhu could be your son.
Extinguish your arrogance and stop splashing your status, wealth and riches. Stop looking at him with such disdain and discrimination. Be Humble, for Parbhu could be your son.
Know that he has been sold by his mother, to sweep the dust and disease of Karachi, for Rs.500 per day. Know that the world calls it CHILD LABOUR and CHILD ABUSE. Know that thousands of Parbhus of Pakistan will not be helped by any of the numerous ceremonial Human Rights and Child Rights organisations or departments, for Parbhu is not their son. Parbhu has no chance to be heard – for he will never attend a foreign funded seminar in a five star hotel.
Run on a US $100 million World Bank loan, Sindh’s premier sanitation organisation, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB), concluded that the science of sweeping was unknown in Pakistan, and gave the entire sweeping contract to a Chinese Company. Chinese are logical and love such acts of insanity. They further sublet the sweeping contract to Pakistani Contractors, who further sublet the contract to yet smaller contractors, who further hired Sureshes, Veermas and Parbhus , to do what the people had already known for the last 5000 years. We allowed this to happen, for we are the beneficiaries of this corruption and cruelty and – also that Parbhu is not our son.
The SSWMB employs thousands of sanitary workers, through a layer of profiteering middle men, that leaves Rs 500 per day for Parbhu. This translates to Rs.13,000 for 26 days a month, provided he was to get the 4 weekly entitled holidays – which are denied to him. The legal wage for 26 days work per month is Rs.25,000. If he falls sick, he loses salary for yet another day. He is not registered with SESSI or EOBI. Being a daily wager, he has no appointment letter. But perhaps none of this interests you, for Parbhu is not your son.
Corruption and misgovernance are not stand-alone curses. They need a chain to operate efficiently – one end of which is held by the most powerful person of the province, while the other by the smallest contractor. Parbhu is only a victim, a slave, a disposable daily wager, needed only to keep the façade going. We pass by these orange vested Parbhus every day, and choose to look the other way – for Parbhu is not our son.
Every citizen with a conscience can help. You can do your own research and send the same to Chief Minister Sindh and MD SSWMB, who are wholly involved in this crime of slavery, child abuse and human rights violation. Demand legal wages, elimination of child labour, and provision of all facilities to every sanitary worker. Also find out what is common in the names of these three, and thousands of other such sanitary workers and why this derogatory discrimination? You could use the note and the video placed here (dated 17 Sept 2022) to support your letter.

SSWMB 15 year and 15K – YouTube

If you cannot do anything, perhaps you could share this note on your FB or social media with your friends as well as the decision makers of the province. Parbhu may not be your son – but he needs your help.
Naeem Sadiq