LAHORE: A Pakistan People’s Party minority leader filed petition against the controversial statement form the CM of KPK in the Lahore High Court.
Seeing that the Christian community across the country were vexed by the statement of Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Mr. Pervez Khattak, a minorities leader from the opposition party Pakistan People’s Party Napoleon Qayyum filed a petition for an “apology” in Lahore High Court.
The petitioner made Pervez Khattak and the two Capital TV talk show hosts parties to the “offensive statement”. However, the community’s annoyance ignited when a local Urdu channel, Capital TV, reported this statement on air and this news spread, hitting headlines in various newspapers as it advertised the deep rooted discriminatory practices in the Indian sub-continent’s past, and still and all confronted by Christians and low-caste Hindus in Pakistan.
Pakistani Christians viewed Pervez Khattak’s statement to be totally insulting; with many saying that it showed the “true” stance of PTI, whose election slogan in May was “Justice, Humanity and Self-Esteem”.
Dr. Albert David, Chairman of Pakistan United Christian Movement UCM, asked how Pervez Khattak could say that Muslims are not eligible for sweepers’ jobs and that only members of the minority communities could perform this task? “Whatever the context, it is very insensitive to say that the jobs of sweeping would only be given to minorities,” he said. Article 27 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan says, “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.”
The Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa reacted to strong criticism and presented an official clarification maintaining that his statement was used by his opponents to defame him. On the other hand PTI spokeswoman Dr. Shireen Mazari also attempted to clarify the context for the CM’s remarks saying, “The previous government had recruited a lot of politically motivated recruits into the Peshawar Municipal Corporation, who had then refused to work as sweepers and stressed that they should be posted to other jobs.”
“So Khattak said that if these guys claim that they cannot do the sweepers’ job because they are Muslim, then fire them all, and hire those who are prepared to work, like unemployed Christians in Peshawar. The Chief Minister never said that Christians should be hired only as sweepers, or that Muslims were banned from being taken as sweepers,” she asserted.