05/18/2016, 13.59
PAKISTAN
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A Christian water man marginalised for his religion gets his job back

by Shafique Khokhar

Qaisar Jahan was removed from the school where he worked for refusing to do janitorial work. The head mistress wanted to force him out of his job as water man because as a Christian he was “impure”. After two months of legal wrangling, Qaisar went back to his job. For his advocate, “Our efforts do not stop here” since job discrimination is widespread.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – The Christian water man who was dismissed from a girls’ high school in Partab Nagar (Faisalabad) because of his faith is back at work.

Back in February, MC Girls High School headmistress Najma Naheed told Qaisar Jahan, “You are Christian and no one in the school wants to get a glass of water from you”.

Because of this, she ordered him to do janitorial work rather than the work for which he was hired. Jahan refused and filed a complaint. After months of legal wrangling, he is now back at work.

The case began in May 2015 when the school mistress, a Muslim, sent a request to the Education District Office (EDO) for a worker. The choice fell on Jahan, who began in November.

However, by the end of December, she started to put pressure on him, complaining that he was refusing to do janitorial work. On 6 February, she wrote a letter of complaint to the EDO.

At that point, Jahan turned to Lala Robin Daniel, a Christian activist who heads the National Minorities Alliance of Pakistan (NMAP) and is the president of the AAWAZ district forum. Daniel filed a complaint with the EDO for religious discrimination on Qaisar’s behalf.

A few days ago, the EDO convened Jahan and the school mistress. The latter was asked to apologise in public for her biased behaviour and to promise that she would never criticised the faith of any colleague.

Najma Naheed said that she would not force anyone to carry out tasks that are not part of their work profile.

Qaisar was happy about his victory. "I am very grateful to my Saviour for his blessings and protection. I always believed in him and was rewarded with so much respect and dignity,” he said.

“When I was dismissed from my job for refusing to work as a sweeper, I decided not to bend down in front of those who divide people in the name of religion."

Since losing his job, “I managed to bring bread home driving rickshaws. I prayed to God very much, and now my friends and family are happy for me. I am grateful to AAWAZ for their untiring efforts for my rights. "

For Lala Robin Daniel, the matter does not end with this success. "Our efforts do not stop here with Qaisar getting his job back. We have to do much more for all those who are discriminated for their faith.”

“We shall fight for a new law that protects non-Muslims from any form of discrimination at work. Until the law is not passed by parliament, we shall not stop.”

Two of Qaisar’s friends have decided to follow him. Forced into doing janitorial work, they too plan to file a complaint.

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