30 September 2016
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    » 02/09/2016, 14.31

    PAKISTAN

    A ‘water man’ discriminated in high school because he is Christian and should not give water to students

    Shafique Khokhar

    Qaisar Jahan began to work at the MC Girls High School in Faisalabad in November 2015 bringing water to students. When the headmistress found out that he was a Christian, she told him to do the janitorial work and not deliver water. He refused saying, “I shall not bend in front of this kind of people”.

    Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Qaisar Jahan, a Christian man who was hired as a ‘water man’ by the MC Girls High School in Partab Nagar (Faisalabad), has been the victim of religious discrimination.

    “You are Christian and no one in the school wants to get a glass of water from you,” the school’s headmistress told him. Because of this, she ordered him to do the janitorial work. However, Jahan refused and filed a complaint.

    The story began in May 2015 when the previous ‘water man’ at the MC Girls High School passed away. The school’s headmistress, Najma Naheed, a Muslim, sent a request to the Education District officer (EDO) for a new employee. The choice fell on Jahan, who began working in November.

    However, towards the end of December, Ms Naheed started to put pressure on the new “water man” to do the janitorial work instead. On 6 February, she wrote a letter of complaint to the EDO.

    Since he was not being allowed to do the work for which he had been hired, Jahan turned to Lala Robin Daniel, a Christian political and social activist, who yesterday filed a complaint with the EDO for religious discrimination.

    "The headmistress’s act of discrimination is unethical and violates the code of human behaviour,” Daniel said. It also violates “Articles 11 and 27 of the Constitution of Pakistan and Conventions 105 and 111 of the International Labour Organisation.”

    “Her unwarranted requests are against the law,” Daniel added. “Hence, we shall raise our voice and ask the authorities to take action against her to ensure the protection of the law for workers who belong to minorities."

    "I will fight for my rights,” Qaisar Jahan said, “and I shall not bend in front of this kind of people, because I believe that my Saviour Jesus Christ will help me find justice. Two other friends of mine have been hired as 'men water' in other schools but have been forced to do the janitorial work. I will not do it."

    The charge of blasphemy levelled at Asia Bibi in 2010 also began with a dispute over water. The Christian woman, a farmer, had been asked to bring water to her Muslim colleagues, but the latter had objected saying since Asia was not a Muslim, she would have made the water container unclean, and thus she should not be allowed to touch the water.

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