Pakistani churchmen have slammed the discriminatory attitude of the Faisalabad Waste Management Company (FWMC). In an advertisement, FWMC had publicized about a vacancy for the post of waste worker mentioning that the post was available only for non-Muslims. As soon as the advertisement of the job vacancy appeared in the local newspaper Daily Aman on Tuesday, January 24, condemnation started pouring in.
The controversial advertisement read that the FWMC requires candidates who are able to improve the cleanliness of the city and “must be from Faisalabad, healthy and non-Muslims.”
In this connection, the Commission for Justices and Peace (NCJP) of the Pakistani Bishops’ Conference heaped condemnation upon the blatant discrimination against the minorities. NCJP stated that “the advertisement is based on discrimination and brassiness against religious minorities and non-Muslims. It is an attempt to divide society into segments and promote the view that minorities and non-Muslims are second-class citizens.”
The official statement of the NCJP further read that “This kind of attitude, is a gross violation of Article 27 of the Constitution, which 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’.”
This is not the first time, when specifically non-Muslims are invited to apply for the posts of sanitary workers. Another similar advertisement sparked indignation; when head of Multan District Health Bureau announced that only non-Muslims will perform sanitation work in local hospitals and rural health facilities.
In the same way, in 2013 the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province Pervez Khattak had to offer public apology to the religious minorities after he stated that “Muslims cannot be hired as sweepers or cleaners” because sanitation work “can only be carried out by Christians, Hindus and lower castes.”
Data reveals that about 80 per cent of garbage pickers, sanitary workers main cities of Pakistan are mainly Christians- who are stereo-typically branded as “choora”, an insulting term used for Christians.
In this regard a prominent Christian educationist and head of All Pakistan Minorities’ Teachers Alliance (PMTA) Professor Anjum James Paul said that there was a lack of economic resources among Christians; which is why they are uneducated, therefore, they are left with no other option but to take up menial jobs like sanitation.
“Many of these workers are school dropouts. Christian families find it hard to finance higher education expenses for their children. Also there is a biased attitude and discrimination prevalent in general public.”