According to latest activity on social media, Britain based Pakistani Christian organization ‘Pakistan Minorities Rights Organisation (PMRO)’ that has been working to highlight the rights of Pakistani Christians, recently met Punjab government’s Minister for Minority Affairs, Tahir Khalil Sidhu and discussed different topics regarding Pakistani Christians and their rights.
According to PMRO UK official Facebook group, a few Executive Board members were present in this much important discussion which they concluded had proved beneficial for the future of Pakistani Christians. Providing the details of the meeting, Morris Johns explained the points that had been discussed. Taking about the 5% quota in government sector for non-Muslim Pakistanis, an initiative of the Martyred Shahbaz Bhatti, he said, “If no qualified person from the minorities background comes forward or is not suitably qualified, then the post will not be converted to a general vacancy, as in the past; instead it will be kept open as a minority vacancy.” He further went on to say, “The 5% quota system is making an enormous impact on the Christian community and the fruits will be seen in the next 5-10 years. Recently hundreds of good positions have been filled by the Christian candidates e.g in the NAB, National Savings Bank, Police and Customs and Excise Department.”
The Minister also mentioned that the Punjab Government had decided to hand back the Murray College, Sialkot and the Gordon College, Rawalpindi, to the Christian community.
Regarding the issue of job advertisement asking for non-Muslim janitors to work at government settings, he said, ” The employment notices by the various Punjab Government departments, which specified that the sweepers and other menial jobs will be reserved for the minorities, will not be issued in the future.” He had discovered that the Civil Service Rules contained a clause, obliging the departments to reserve those jobs for the minorities which has been omitted.
He also told that the Punjab Government had issued a notification, on his recommendation, that the prisoners with less than 3 months sentence to serve, should be released early at Christmas. Subsequently, 729 Christian prisoners had been released from the Punjab prisons this Christmas.
Sidhu further notified that he had undertaken a project to build an auditorium dedicated to Father Pinto. Future projects include a campaign to persuade the Government to allocate 20 extra marks to each Christian student, who can pass an exam to ensure their understanding of the Bible.
All the prospects discussed in the meeting seem promising and can be instrumental in development of Pakistani Christians, if properly and timely implemented. Though Punjab holds the largest Christian population in Pakistan, but much needs to be done for Christians living in underdeveloped areas of the country as well.