02/18/2016, 16.17
PAKISTAN
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Punjab: govt should stop discriminating against religious minorities, uphold constitution

by Shafique Khokhar

Lala Robin Daniel, activist and president of the National Minorities Alliance of Pakistan, issues an appeal through AsiaNews, calling on political leaders to protect minority groups, as required by secular and Islamic laws. Article 27 of the Constitution and ILO convention, which Pakistan signed, are clear. Shari'a also requires employers to treat employees "as brothers”.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – In an appeal made through AsiaNews, Lala Robin Daniel, activist and president of the National Minorities Alliance of Pakistan (NMAP), has called on the Government of Punjab to end almost 60 years of discrimination against religious minorities, in the workplace and elsewhere, and uphold the country's constitution, which declares the equality of all citizens.

Daniels made his appeal just days after the latest incident of anti-Christian discrimination in the workplace. Last year, Qaisar Jahan, a Christian man hired as a water man by MC Girls High School in Faisalabad, was reassigned to janitorial work after the principal discovered his religion.

Lala Robin Daniel has followed the case, and sent a letter of protest to the Education District Officer (EDO), noting that Article 27 of the Constitution states, ‘No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth’.

Hence, for NMAP’s president, it is clear that work is covered by the constitution, which requires that both federal and provincial governments implement the laws and regulations on the matter. That, however, has not taken place yet.

In addition, workplace and labour practices come under the International Labour Organisation Convention No 87, which Pakistan signed.

Lastly, Daniel noted that the Federal Shariat Court, which vets and decides on whether bills comply with Islamic law, ruled that the State has a duty to intervene if an employer fails to comply with the duty required by Shari'a to treat employees “as brothers”.

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