Pakistani bishops want 30,000 vacant jobs reserved for minorities filled immediately
by Shafique Khokar

Pakistani law reserves 5 per cent of jobs for members of minority groups, but 30,000 positions remain vacant. The president of the Bishops' Conference, wants recruitment completed by 2021.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Archbishop Joseph Arshad of Rawalpindi-Islamabad, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan (CBCP), has spoken out on the issue of thousands of jobs reserved by law to members of the country’s minorities that are left vacant. 

Under Pakistan law, 5 per cent of jobs are reserved for members of minority groups for the purpose of promoting their integration and financial autonomy. 

To date however, federal and provincial governments have filled only a fraction of those jobs. 

According to data cited a few weeks ago by Shoaib Suddle, chairman of the minority commission instituted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, some 30,000 jobs remain vacant across the country.

“Religious minorities include marginalised and often discriminated communities at all levels of social life. Setting a working quota of 5 per cent was a good move to facilitate their integration and improve their living conditions,” said Archbishop Arshad.

“However, it was a sad to find out that this measure has not been implemented in its true spirit by all provincial governments.”

The CBCP, the archbishop noted, urges the government to ensure that recruitment is completed by the end of 2021, and that it become committed to limiting minority discrimination. 

Meanwhile, in a country where discrimination and non-respect for human rights are a hot topic, the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), the CBCP’s human rights arm, has reiterated its concern following the rejection by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interreligious Harmony and the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) of a bill punishing forced religious conversions. 

“The rejection of the bill goes against the right to religious freedom,” said Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad.

“With this decision, criminal violence is legitimised and the use of religion is encouraged as a cover for the crimes of kidnapping, rape and forced conversion to Islam of minority girls and young women.”