Islamabad, Pakistan: Pakistan has always denied the existence of the caste based discrimination in the country. But there have been continuous complaints about the discrimination from the minority community.
In the past, when authorities in Karachi attempted to hire Muslims to clean gutters, many refused to go down into the sewers, preferring to sweep the streets instead.
The article said that the majority of the sweepers are uneducated and disorganised, making it easier for employers to pressurise them into accepting the positions as their main source of money.
Christians form 1.6 per cent of Pakistan’s population but held 80 per cent of the sanitary posts in Pakistan as per the 1998 census.
The workers spend hours in the sewers of the city and since they are constantly exposed to human garbage and hazardous pollutants, many develop chronic respiratory and skin illnesses, and for some, it’s been a life or death situation, according to the article in The Nation
Earlier, there have been reports of doctors refusing to treat sweepers because of the stigma.
Also, sanitary jobs were reserved for non-Muslims under a systemic policy devised by the government. In 2015, a Hospital in Punjab advertised ten opportunities for sanitation jobs that were earmarked for minorities only.
“Furthermore, the district council of Swabi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa passed a resolution in January mandating that all sweepers hired in the district’s hospitals must be Christians.
The positions of guards and peons should be given to the Muslims as per the resolution which was a breach of Article 27 of Pakistan’s Constitution,” the article said.