Unequal Citizens – Journal – DAWN.COM
INDIFFERENCE would have been bad enough, but the state’s attitude towards non-Muslims falls squarely into the category of religious discrimination to the point of viewing them as less than human. It is a shameful indictment of the promise on which this country was born almost 75 years ago, when it pledged to protect its minorities and treat them as equals with the rest of its citizens. According to a report compiled by the National Human Rights Commission, with the support of the EU, almost half of the positions reserved for religious minorities in government jobs are vacant and – to add insult to injury – 80% of non-Muslims who were appointed under the 5% quota for them work in low-paying sanitation jobs. The document, titled Unequal Citizens: Ending Systemic Discrimination Against Minorities, highlights a host of other issues that many non-Muslims in government jobs related to garbage disposal and sewage management face whenever they go. ‘they report to work for a pittance. These include unsafe working conditions, inadequate safety equipment and equipment, lack of job security and poor compensation for those injured or the families of those who die during the of their work.
The report should be a much-needed wake-up call for a state that is dramatically failing in its constitutional and international obligations to an entire segment of the population. According to the NCHR, between 2011 and 2021, more than 65% of sanitation workers who died while unclogging gutters were from minority communities. Repeatedly, concerned citizens have pointed out that notices advertising government positions for sanitation workers display blatant denominational discrimination by making it clear that only non-Muslims should apply – as if these essential jobs to keep our surroundings clean and free from disease were inferior to the Muslims. In September last year, the Supreme Court asked the government why 30,000 jobs reserved for non-Muslims were still vacant. And yet, this institutionalized discrimination persists in our society, fostering a majority mindset that then becomes fertile ground for other problems.
Posted in Dawn, May 25, 2022