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Pakistani Christians protest over Job Discrimination

July 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Asia, newsletter-asia, Pakistan, Persecution

A quota of teaching jobs are meant to be reserved for Pakistani minorities

A quota of teaching jobs are meant to be reserved for Pakistani minorities

Christians in Pakistan have been staging a hunger strike after discovering that jobs reserved for minorities had been given to Muslims.

The protest in Khushab, Punjab province, has been taking place for three days outside the district coordination officer’s building. They say that a five per cent quota approved by the government for minorities in federal jobs is not being fulfilled by the local administration, with Muslims being given positions that should be reserved for Christians and other minority groups.

Alice Masih said:

Nearly all the positions reserved for minorities in the job market here as well as in schools have already been filled and not by us… When I checked the records I found that all the quota had been filled by Muslim candidates.

Khushab council member William Naz said there was not a single Christian in the entire district police force, and Dr Shahid Gill, who works at the local hospital, said there are patients who refuse to be treated by a Christian. He added:

Now they don’t want other Christians to get jobs even if they are qualified.

Is it not enough that we are marginalised socially but now they want to drive us into poverty by refusing us jobs allocated for us.

Parliamentarians from Pakistan’s minorities raised the matter with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani at a meeting last Saturday. Akram Masih Gill, State Minister for Interfaith Harmony and Minorities Affairs, said the prime minister asked for a report on the quota’s implementation and the hurdles involved. Mr Gill said they had also asked for the five per cent quota to be implemented in the military and the judiciary.

Pakistan is 96 per cent Muslim; Christians comprise around 2.5 per cent of the population with Hindus and other minority groups forming the remaining 1.5 per cent.

Christians face widespread discrimination in public life, and as a result most can get only menial and low-paid jobs, which force them to live in poverty. Barnabas Fund supports a number of projects in Pakistan that help to alleviate the burden on Christian families and break the cycle of poverty. These include feeding programmes that provide monthly food parcels to those in need, and education for children and young people.

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