A recent advertisement publicized has once again fanned anger among the religious minorities in Pakistan as the advertisement for the posts of sanitary workers calls for non-Muslim candidates only. This discriminatory ad was publicized by the Sindh government.
Expressing anger over the discriminatory ad, a prominent Pakistani Christian educationist Professor Anjum James Paul said that such advertisements were institutionalized religious discrimination. The recent advertisement puts forth job opportunities for car mechanic, laborer, in charge of maintenance and cleaners. However the advertisement also goes on to call only non-Muslim candidates for the position of cleaners.
“This wording is a flagrant violation of Article 26 of the Constitution of Pakistan, which, among the fundamental rights, explicitly speaks of ‘non-discrimination’ regarding the access to public places, towards all citizens”, Professor Anjum James stated.
Professor Anjum who also heads “Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association” (PMTA) also stated: “It is a discrimination carried out by the state. It is a shameful treatment reserved to religious minorities. According to the Constitution, all citizens have equal rights and duties. It is time to put an end to this discriminatory practice not only in social relations but also in state institutions and structures. The regional government of Sindh should also follow the disposition to reserve religious minorities 5% of the state seats available, in every order and degree, but it does not”.
Religious minorities are troubled by the religion based discrimination, on the other hand most of them refer to famous speech delivered by founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam who ensured equal rights to religious minorities in Pakistan.
Speaking on August 11, 1947 Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah declared in the Assembly that: “We are all citizens of the same State. We should keep this principle before us as our ideal. So one will discover that over the years Hindus will cease to be Hindu and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because this is the personal faith of every individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State”.
In a bid to ensure equal rights for non-Muslim Pakistanis, the civil society, social activists, rights campaigners and others are urging Pakistani government to bring about reforms in the constitution so as to curb religion based discrimination and prejudice hurled at the religious minorities.