New Study Highlights Workplace Discrimination Faced by Christians in Pakistan

ICC Note:

A new study, led by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, has highlighted the workplace discrimination faced by Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan. As part of the study, the testimony of individual Christians who faced discrimination in Pakistan were collected. It is hoped that by publishing this study, more victims of workplace discrimination will come forward and report their cases. Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan face widespread discrimination. Often, Christians are relegated to the lowest rungs of Pakistan’s social ladder because of their religious identity. Will raising awareness about how this discrimination effects Christians in the workplace help bring change? 

01/18/2018 Pakistan (UCAN) – Parmala Ravi Shankar quit working for a multinational company in Pakistan after four days when a manager asked her not to use the same eating utensils as Muslim colleagues.

She was told to instead bring her own from home.

“I was wondering what is going on — am I not a human being?” Shankar recalls.

What happened to her is by no means unique.

Other well-known cases include that of a woman who was sentenced to death for blasphemy after an argument over her drinking water from the same glass used by Muslims.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, in collaboration with organizations such as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has conducted case studies in Karachi and Hyderabad of Sindh province.

Moazzam Ali, a project coordinator, said a primary aim was to highlight impacts on people’s lives.

A survey posed 22 questions related to constitutional guarantees such as the outlawing of discriminatory employment practices.

Father Saleh Diego, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said some people had a discriminatory mindset.

The NCJP has been involved in the research project, which found that in many instances Christians or Hindus were simply not employed at a particular workplace because of their religion.

In other cases, they were given a job but alienated from Muslim workmates.

Father Diego said he remained hopeful that the new research would help people facing discrimination understand that their voices could be heard.

He encouraged human rights groups to take specific cases to the media.

Father Diego also called for prosecution of those engaged in workplace discrimination.

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