Christians in Pakistan stage hunger strike because of job discrimination
Christians in Khushab, a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan, have been staging a hunger strike in front of the building of the district coordination office out of desperation for jobs.
They are on strike because although the Pakistani government approved the allotment of a five percent quota of all federal jobs for minorities, this has not been implemented by the local administration.
One of the strikers, Alice Masih told Barnabas Fund, “Nearly all the positions reserved for minorities in the job market here as well as in schools have already been filled and not by us…When I checked the records I found that all the quota had been filled by Muslim candidates.”
Neither have any Christians been given jobs in the police force, William Naz, a Khushab council member, told Barnabas Fund.
Christians also face discrimination in the rush for jobs at the local hospital.
Dr. Shaid Gill told Barnabas Fund that this may be because a number of patients have refused treatment from Christians.
Masih told Barnabas Fund, “It is not enough that we are marginalized socially but now they want to drive us into poverty by refusing us jobs allocated for us.”
Meeting with Prime Minister
A number of parliamentarians from minority groups met with Pakistan’s prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani recently to bring the matter to his attention, Akram Masih Gill, state minister for Interfaith Harmony and Minorities Affairs.
Gill told Barnabas Fund that the parliamentarians also asked the prime minister to implement the five percent quota in the judiciary and the military.
In turn, Gill told Barnabas Fund, the prime minister asked for a report to be made regarding the job discrimination issue and the status of the implementation of the quota.
Christians, who mostly live in poverty and usually attain only menial jobs, make up 2.5 percent of Pakistan’s population. Another 1.5 percent are Hindu and other minority faiths. Muslims comprise 96 percent of total population.