The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is not new to discriminating against its religious minorities. In a recent advertisement floated by the Health Department in South Karachi district, it was found that the 5 vacant posts of sanitary workers at the SGD Delhi P Colony, SGD Special Leprosy Clinic, and SGD Chakiwara could only be filled by non-Muslims.
In its recruitment notice, the Health Department specified that the sanitary jobs can only be undertaken by non-Muslims aka Hindus and Christians. However, no other job profile called for such an exclusive religious group. Through such an advertisement, the Health Department suggested Muslims are ineligible for ‘dirty work’ and is limited to non-Muslim professionals only.
A similar prejudiced and discriminatory advertisement was floated by the Livestock wing of livestock and fisheries, Government of Sindh. It listed 42 vacancies for sweepers and sanitary workers with the qualification that the candidates must be non-Muslims only.
It is not a new development and jobs of sanitary workers is often reserved for non-Muslims in the country.
Pakistani Hindus speak out against discriminatory advertisement
After the two contentious advertisements surfaced on social media, Pakistani Hindu rights activists questioned as to why such menial jobs are allocated to non-Muslims specifically.
MBBS student Rekha Maheshwari tweeted, “Keep such discriminatory jobs to yourself. We will work hard day by day to be in great position. So what if we can’t occupy Prime minister and President seat, we are well educated and deserving enough to settle anywhere in this world and we will always strive for a decent living.”
Keep such discriminatory jobs to yourself. We will work hard day by day to be in great position. So what if we can’t occupy Prime minister and President seat, we are well educated and deserving enough to settle anywhere in this world and we will always strive for a decent living. pic.twitter.com/wrKYCpLyMW— Rekha Maheshwari 🇵🇰 (@DrRekha99) May 22, 2021
Journalist Veengas lamented, “All citizens are not equal in the state of Pakistan — Sweepers and Sanitary workers jobs Only for Non-Muslims.”
All citizens are not equal in the state of Pakistan — Sweepers and Sanitary workers jobs Only for Non-Muslims 🤦🏽♀️ pic.twitter.com/npJTpFBxEL— Veengas (@VeengasJ) May 22, 2021
Hindu rights activist Kapil Dev said, “Sanitary jobs are EXCLUSIVELY for Christians & Hindus in Pakistan. This shows govt’s repeated reiteration that majority will do filth, minority will clean that filth. Wese, boht gand kar rahe ho!! We demand equal proportion of #Muslim sweepers, cleaners & sanitary workers.”
Sanitary jobs are EXCLUSIVELY for #Christians & #Hindus in Pakistan. This shows govt’s repeated reiteration that majority will do filth, minority will clean that filth.— Kapil Dev (@KDSindhi) May 23, 2021
Wese, boht gand kar rahe ho!!
We demand equal proportion of #Muslim sweepers, cleaners & sanitary workers.
Christians, Dalits forced to do manual scavenging work in Pakistan
Only the minuscule Christian community living in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is forced into manual scavenging, reported The New York Times. Municipalities in Pakistan rely heavily on Christians for manual scavenging as Muslims refuse to clean the gutters and the Christian minorities have few other employment options. According to one estimate by the rights group, even though Christians constitute 1.6% of the population, they account for 80% sanitation workers.
The rest 20% comprises of Dalits who constitute the overwhelming majority of Hindus in Pakistan. Illiteracy and lack of alternate sources of income have pushed these Pakistani minorities with no other options but to clean drains clogged with faeces and medical waste to earn a meagre living.
Earlier, a member of the National Lobbying Delegation for Minority Rights (NLDMR), Asif Aqeel, took to Twitter to call out the Pakistani Army’s bias after it had floated a similar discriminatory ad. But in doing so, Aqeel claimed that the manuscripts of the Manusmriti have it that all Christians come from an ‘untouchable class’ and are expected to do such menial jobs. Shockingly, while expressing his disapproval for the Pakistani Army, Asif Aqeel spitefully divulged in insulting the ancient theology of the Hindu religion.