Controversial ad in K-P newspaper hurts religious sensibilities of minorities

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Another controversial job advertisement provokes the religious minorities, but this time in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Religious minorities including Christians, Hindus and Shiites were incensed after the local administration of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) in District Bannu advertised for vacant posts of sweepers. The ad stated that religious minorities such as ‘Christians, Hindus and Shias’ are eligible to apply.

Christians in Bannu

The ad appeared in a local newspaper in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on March 19; which sparked outrage amongst the religious minorities. This ad was publicize by the office of the Tehsil Municipal Officer (TMO) for 14 vacant posts for sweepers with Basic Pay Scale-2. The ad further detailed that all genders between a specific age group are eligible to apply.

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Typically Hindus and Christians are recruited for such positions, nonetheless the inclusion of Shia sect in the advertisement grieved the Shia community also. The ad was met with absolute criticism and was said to promote religious and sectarian discrimination and hatred. In the wake of the uproar, the newspaper issued an apology stating: “The word ‘Shia’ was mistakenly typed instead of ‘bashamool’, which was a typing error by the clerk in TMA Bannu office.”

Soon after being published in the ad went viral on social media, while condemnation was heaped upon the concerned authorities. In this regard, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman tweeted: “JUI-F in Bannu promoting disrespect and hatred amongst diff sects & religions. CM KP must act against spread of bigotry & discrimination in KP.” Benazir Mir Samad also tweeted: “It’s not abt Shia being included in the list but specifying religion for this job. There is totally no need!”

Remarking about this case, a prominent social activist Muhammad Jibran Nasir, stated that the “JUI-F government in Bannu hiring sweepers based on religious and sectarian basis reflects how residents are taught that a certain sect is inferior to another. This isn’t the first time that ads for cleaning positions have reflected bigotry and superiority complex of the self-righteous in our government.”