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Christians-only condition for sanitation jobs removed

ISLAMABAD, June 28 (WNP): An advertisement offering sanitation jobs in the Pakistan Army was changed after it was criticised on social media for being discriminatory towards Christians.

It specified that only Christians could apply for the posts of sanitation workers in the army’s Mujahid Force. Vacancies for the posts of drivers, sepoys and tradesmen were also mentioned but had no such religious criteria.

Former director-general of the Punjab chief minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit and activist Salman Sufi tweeted an updated picture of the advertisement.

“We are grateful that this clerical error was addressed as usually Christians are [stereotyped] as sanitary workers so it is considered a norm and we wanted that changed,” Sufi told.

Human rights lawyer advocate Mary James Gill had tweeted on Monday to ISPR chief Major General Asif Ghafoor to take notice of the discriminatory clause.

Many other activists and journalists also raised their voices against the discriminatory policy.

This is not the first time Christians or non-Muslims have been associated with janitorial work.

A March 17, 2017 advertisement for sweepers in a local Urdu newspaper in Bannu specified that only minorities should apply. The advertisement said that male and female applicants must be Hindu, Christian or Shia.

In August 2018, activist Kapil Dev posted a picture of an advertisement which said only “non-Muslims” should apply for the position of sanitary workers.

In January, the Swabi district council in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa adopted a resolution wanting sweepers hired in the district’s hospitals to be Christian only. It demanded that all Muslims posted as sweepers be transferred to other posts, such as those of guards or peons.

Mary James Gill told that the resolution was in violation of Article 27 of the Constitution.

She condemned the move and said not only did it go against Quaid-i-Azam’s vision for the country, but also the basic principles of Islam.

A report by the World Watch Monitor said that minority representation in sanitation work in Pakistan is above 80%. According to the report, 824 of 935 sanitation workers in the Peshawar Municipal Corporation are Christian.

About 6,000 out of 7,894 sanitation workers in the Lahore Waste Management Company are Christian and 768 of 978 workers in the Quetta Municipal Corporation are Christian.

More than 95% of Pakistan’s 220 million people are Muslims. Less than 2% are Christians, Hindus or belong to other religions.

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