Tuesday May 24, 2022

One-Man Commission seeks end to faith-based discrimination

January 01, 2022

ISLAMABAD: All provincial governments along with the Gilgit Baltistan government and the federal capital have been directed to immediately put an end to faith-based discrimination in all jobs and workplaces countrywide.

In a letter, dated 30th December, the One Man Commission has directed all the government authorities of Pakistan to put a lid on the religion-based discrimination in offices, jobs and work places across the country.

Talking with The News, Chairman One Man Commission (OMC) Dr Shoaib Suddle stressed that for years Pakistan has been fighting to eliminate such practices but failed, as still discrimination on basis of religion was witnessed.

"Whenever a deplorable incident takes place against any minor, the nation wakes up to put off the fire and after a while goes to sleep again. It is high time for a systematic change and sincere efforts on part of the authorities so that minors could enjoy their every right as given in our constituency", said Dr Shoaib.

An official of the Ministry of Human Rights also told The News that faith or religion-based discrimination in offices and jobs- especially in case of sanitary workers - was a dilemma for Pakistan and it needs to end at all costs.

Giving reference to the advertisements for Christian community for recruitment of sanitary workers, the One Man Commission in its letter wrote, "Though repeatedly and categorically discouraged, such practices keep on surfacing".

The letter noted that such advertisements are straight violation of the Constitution of Pakistan, as Articles 18, 25 and 27 demand equality of all citizens in jobs and occupations, freedom of trade and prohibits recruitment or hiring on basis of religion, cast or sex.

"It is required that the referred advertisements be immediately withdrawn and stern instructions on the subject be issued to all divisions/departments/autonomous organizations/attached departments, etc. to ensure stoppage of faith-based discriminatory practices for good".

"There is no justification, whatsoever, for reserving the jobs of sanitary workers only for non-Muslims", the letter said. It further directed to ensure that all unskilled minority workers are paid a minimum wage of Rs25,000 per month in Sindh and at least Rs20,000 per month or at the rate applicable elsewhere in Pakistan, along with registration with the EOBI, etc. and provision of admissible leave and medical facilities.

The letter was sent to Secretary Establishment Division Islamabad, Secretary Ministry of Defense Rawalpindi, Chief Commissioner Islamabad and Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Article 18 of the Constitution grants freedom of trade, business or profession to every citizen. It is written under this article that every citizen shall have the right to enter upon any lawful profession or occupation, and to conduct any lawful trade or business.

Article 25 whereas states that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law and there shall be no discrimination. Under Article 27, no citizen qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth.