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Commission in Pakistan Calls for End of Religion-Based Discrimination in the Workforce

01/03/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – According to The News International, the One Man Commission (OMC) in Pakistan is seeking to end religion-based discrimination in all jobs and workplaces. The OMC specifically highlighted discriminatory hiring practices in which Christians are specifically hired into Pakistan’s sanitation workforce.

In a letter dated December 30, the OMC directed all government authorities in Pakistan to end religion-based discrimination in offices, jobs, and workplaces across the country. Dr. Shoaib Suddle, Chairman of the OMC, said Pakistan had so far failed to confront religion-based discrimination.

Whenever a deplorable incident takes place against any minority, the nation wakes up to put off the fire and after a while goes to sleep again,” Dr. Suddle told The News International. “It is high time for a systematic change and sincere efforts on part of the authorities so that minorities could enjoy their every right.

Highlighting discriminatory job advertisements that seek to hire non-Muslims only for dirty or lowly jobs, such as sanitation jobs, the OMC said specifically said that this practice must end.

Though repeatedly and categorically discouraged, such practices keep surfacing,” the OMC’s December 30 letter said. “There is no justification, whatsoever, for reserving the jobs of sanitary workers only for non-Muslims.

According to a study done by WaterAid, approximately 80% of Pakistan’s sanitation workforce are Christian despite only making up 2% of the country’s population. This is due to extreme levels of discrimination in Pakistan where Christians are intentionally hired for sanitation jobs due to an association between their religious identity and perceptions of spiritual purity.

Last month, a municipality in Pakistan banned the use of a derogatory slur often used against Christian sanitation workers. On December 10, the Municipal Committee of Attock outlawed the use of the term ‘chuhra’, threatening legal action against those who continue to use the term.

The term chuhra is an abusive term, historically reserved for sanitation workers. The term refers to an individual’s heritage as a member of a low caste community associated with the profession of street sweeping, a profession considered spiritually impure.

Because many members of this low caste community converted to Christianity, an association between being Christian and low caste was formed. Presently, the term chuhra is used as a derogatory slur against all Christians, regardless of their profession.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: press@persecution.org.

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