Slavery in Pakistan

In the major city centers of this country, a construction boom has been happening for the last 10 years or so. The landscape is dotted with billboards advertising new and newer projects for housing. Each a city in itself they seem. Even foreign builders have now entered our market such as the new “Crescent Bay” project by Emaar or Creek Vista or Marina or whatever.

However there is a reality far uglier than the out of reach prices of housing in these projects. The ingredients of any of these buildings include marble and brick, mostly finished or baked in kilns which dot the landscape around each city. These kilns employ bonded labor, slaves in other words to work inhuman hours for pittance.

These Kilns still employ the Peshgi system of payment in which the Kiln owner gives advance payment upon hiring/buying a new slave, which the slave pays off for the rest of his life or until the Kiln owner sees fit. I say slave because these workers are restricted from leaving these Kilns by force and are incarcerated in private jails along with their entire families if they resist. The repayment is also according to the Kiln owners whims as most of these poor slaves do not even know how to count or deduct amounts. they just toil away endlessly.

It seems humans when given discretionary powers over other human’s lives and property can indulge in the most sadist and horrifying practices to reap profit/benefit. Our government as usual does not believe in doing anything for the plight of these kiln slaves. The Supreme Court did pass an order in 2004 banning the Peshgi system but who enforces that order? Have any of our esteemed city unions taken the trouble to register these slaves?

Protect the powerful, side with the Fuedals and crush the poor, to hell with the meek. All I can say is, like the blood diamonds of Africa, our buildings are being made on the blood and anguish of these kiln slaves, and in time we shall all reap what we have sown.