Father Saleh Diego shows a copy of the advert to Naveed Anthony at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Karachi. (Photo supplied)
The Catholic Church has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan’s Sindh government over publication of a job advertisement seen as discriminatory toward minorities.
In the advertisement which appeared in local dailies on June 1, the Municipal Corporation (West) Karachi announced 28 vacancies in various categories. It reserved sanitary jobs solely for non-Muslims.
Father Saleh Diego, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Karachi and director of its National Commission for Justice and Peace, met with the Sindh government's representative on minority affairs, Naveed Anthony, to air his objections and ask the Catholic lawmaker to look into the matter.
“This is not the first time that government advertisements have hurt the sentiments of religious minorities. It is totally unacceptable,” Father Diego told Anthony.
“We have repeatedly appealed to government officials to put an end to the culture of placing advertisements that further stigmatize marginalized minorities. The Sindh government must take note of the ad and take action against those who are involved in it.”
Anthony promised that the government would ask the municipal corporation to withdraw the advertisement.
“Minorities are as Pakistani as Muslims and it is their right to have equal work opportunities,” the lawmaker said. “We must follow in the vision of founder of the nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who said that religion had nothing to do with the affairs of the state.”
According to a study by Open Doors USA, 80 percent of the Punjab’s sanitation workforce are Christians despite the fact they make up only 1.6 percent of the country’s total population.
Lahore Waste Management Company alone employed 7,894 sewer sweepers in 2015, the majority of them Christians. The same study cites the Capital Development Authority employing 1,500 sweepers for Islamabad, all of them Christians.
In June 2019, a similar advert by the Pakistan army drew flak from Christian activists for being discriminatory towards the minority community. The advertisement was later withdrawn by the army.