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January 24, 2020

Upper-class apathy

Newspost

 
January 24, 2020

'I am a contracted janitor for the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC). I wear slippers instead of safety shoes. I cover my nose and mouth with a muffler instead of a mask, and cover my head with the same piece. I pick the trash and dead animals with my bare hands. I am paid Rs12000 per month instead of the legal minimum wage of Rs17500. I do not mind that I am denied a pension and social security. I do not protest when I fall ill and they cut my salary. I desperately need this job, hence I cannot question as to why I get Rs5500 less than the minimum wage. My main concern is to feed my wife and four children, pay my rent, pay the bus fare and buy some clothes for my children.

'I am also eternally grateful to the rich, the powerful and the caring people, who live in the luxurious houses of DHA and Clifton. They pretend everyday as though I do not exist. It is not that they ignore us. They just have more important things to do­--perhaps attending a seminar on human rights, in a five-star hotel. It is nice that they wear dark glasses that can filter out the janitors. Thanks to the Japanese, their car ACs and closed windows filter out the smell and the disease that we carry. They have no idea that they are our biggest supporters and our sincerest friends. Thank you, people of DHA and Clifton, for never raising your voice for us.' This letter was written on behalf of Ghulam Shakir.

Naeem Sadiq

Karachi