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A newspaper advert that clearly allocates Christians and other minorities access to sweeper roles has been condemned by International NGO's. The discriminatory
actions of the Government of Punjab resulted in Jim Shannon, Chairman of the All Parliamentary Party for Religious Minorities writing to the Chief
Minister of Punjab condemning this latest action.
A copy of MP Jim Shannon's letter can be viewed (click here)
The advert that was printed in Jaang Newspapers Pakistan in February 2017 lists a number of forthcoming employment vacancies and calls for applicants to respond.
The list is a multi-columned and mutli-rowed table and though most of it is written in urdu, foreign readers can visibly see in the 8th row from the right (as Urdu is read from right to left), that in the 5% quota for Minorities 14 vacancies are guaranteed.
For those who cannot read Urdu this might look like a positive undertaking by the Government of Punjab, until you read the job titles in the 2nd row from the right. To the chagrin of Human Rights NGO's the job description next to row number 7 is listed as sweepers.
Although 1 sweeper role has been assigned to the disabled individuals 3% quota (column 7) and a further 10 to women under their 15% quota (column 9), the largest number of sweeper jobs has been allocated to Non-Muslims at 14. This places minority candidates in a very unfortunate position of alleged 'positive discrimination' that goes against them.
Despite the percentage of jobs allocated under positive discrimination of women being larger then that of minorities at 15% compared to 5%, women have less of the sweeper roles allocated to them then minorities. Indicating that the quota system is being used to propagate the existing difficulty for Christians to be working within skilled roles within the Punjab Government.
A closer inspection of the table shows an even more insidious aspect as both women and disabled people are afforded a quota of jobs in other categories, but the entire minorities quota for employment is based on the 14 sweeper roles.
Morris Johns, researcher for the All Parliamentary Party Group for Pakistani Minorities, wrote a comment for the BPCA, it said:
"To avoid allocating the required 5% jobs quota to the minorities, the advertisers often add all the vacancies together, e.g. in this case the minorities share of 14 vacancies out of total 271 have all been put in the sweepers column.
"However, the female, disabled and the employees' children quotas have all been divided among various categories. These jobs are not skilled or well-paid jobs.
"They are gardeners, drivers and lab attendants, but the hatred against the minorities is such that they are not given an opportunity to apply even for these lowly paid jobs. Thy want to confine the minorities to just one occupation."
An editorial message in Newspaper Pakistan Today on Januray 19th 2017, read as follows:
"The decision by the Punjab government to allocate 5 per cent mandatory quota in government jobs for minorities is commendable because not only the constitution of Pakistan but our great religion Islam also give non-Muslim minorities certain rights and privileges.
Since Islam seeks to establish such a society where all citizens of the state enjoy equal rights and religion does not become the basis for any discrimination therefore, it is hoped that the government would remain sincere in its efforts to promote and protect the rights of minorities and consider them as humans as well. Only words will not do anything until they are followed by actions."
You can read the full message (click here)
Article 27 of the Pakistan Constitution, states:
||Safeguard against discrimination in services.|
||No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth:|
||Nothing in clause (1) shall prevent any Provincial Government, or any local or other authority in a Province, from prescribing, in relation to any post or class of service under that Government or authority, conditions as to residence in the Province. for a period not exceeding three years, prior to appointment under that Government or authority|