Zahid Hussain, Karachi
Updated: September 04, 2020 06:09 AM GMT
Water and Sanitation Agency Lahore workers pull a Christian sanitary worker out of a manhole. (Photo supplied by Shafique Masih)
A human rights group has slammed the government of Pakistan’s Sindh province for a job advertisement that invited applications from non-Muslims for a sanitation post.
The Karachi-based government job advertisement was published in widely circulated Urdu newspaper Jang on Sept. 2. Among other posts, the job specified only “non-Muslims” for the post of sanitary worker.
“HRCP [Human Rights Commission of Pakistan] deplores the continuing practice of advertising posts that specify that #religiousminorities should apply for sanitation jobs,” the rights body said in a statement on Sept. 3.
“Such ads infringe on human dignity and violate the constitutional guarantee of equality for all citizens because they deem religious minorities as only fit for work that is traditionally looked down on.”
It also called on the Sindh government to recall the advert and ensure that religious minorities are encouraged to apply for any post they wish.
This is not the first time that Christian activists and rights groups have pointed out what they describe as a discriminatory job policy that further marginalizes and belittles the country’s tiny minority population.
In June last year, the Pakistan army was forced to pull a job advertisement seeking applications only from Christians for sanitation jobs after social media outrage from religious minorities.
In 2016, Punjab's government struck down the policy of recruiting only non-Muslims for sanitation jobs. Even so, government advertisements continue to display sweeper jobs only for Christians.
According to World Watch Monitor, an organization tracking persecution of Christians worldwide, the minority representation in sanitation jobs in Pakistan is over 80 percent even though Christians constitute just 2 percent of the population.
As a result of this continued practice in many parts of the country, many in Pakistan refer to Christians as Churha (dirty), a highly offensive and derogatory term.
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.