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ICC Note: Christians across Pakistan face widespread and intense discrimination which can flare up into outright persecution. Among those most discriminated against are Christian women working as domestic workers in the homes of Muslims. Reports of harassment, abuse, and even forced conversion are common for these Christian women.  

04/27/2018 Pakistan (MangoBaaz) – The Christian community in Pakistan was estimated to constitute to 1.6% of the total population in 2005. That means in 2005, we had about 2.5 million Christians in Pakistan.

While that number may not seem like much as a percentage, it totals up to a sizable minority – one that is ill-treated in Pakistan. These Christians mostly converted from Hinduism to escape the caste-dominated society before the partition of the subcontinent. But it didn’t help much. The roots of discrimination run deep in our society as well.

Christians in Pakistan have it pretty tough. But Christian domestic workers? Their plight is one that goes unnoticed but needs all the more focus.

We’re all aware of the treatment domestic workers receive by their employers. Anything goes missing, blame the domestic help. Having a bad day? Yell at the maid. It’s despicable, but it’s a lot worse when the element of discrimination is added.

However, to get to the bottom of this, MangoBaaz spoke to Rebecca and Nargis – two Christian domestic workers employed at different households.

Talking about their respective jobs, both Rebecca and Nargis had similar stories to share.

They talked about how their employers kept a separate Muslim cook, stating that they’re “na paak” and should, therefore, stay away from the kitchen. Moreover, they’re always decreed to wash their hands repeatedly, before holding anything other than mops. They’re not allowed to sit on the furniture, so they normally sit on the floor. Whenever something is lost, they are investigated first. The Muslim household help is investigated later. They’re also normally referred to as “chooray” in addition to other derogatory remarks.

The most shocking aspect was when Nargis stated that she’d been asked to convert repeatedly.

Conversion requires the internalization of a new belief system. It involves a new religious identity or a change from one religious identity to another. How can we possibly force someone to lose their identity?

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