On Road to equality: Pakistan Army removes Christians-only condition for sanitation jobs

Pakistan Army's recent advertisement drew ire.

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples; free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in the State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has Nothing to do with the business of the state”

Our minority dilemma has been a representative of our hypocrisy, which lies in the core of the creation of Pakistan. A country that was created to protect a minority nation, has failed to extend the same protection to its own minorities.

Creation of Pakistan was inspired by the idea that Pakistan is the optimal and only solution to protect the rights of the Muslim minority, which were otherwise compromised in a united or confederal India. But after the creation of the ‘nation’, all we see is hypocrisy a deviation from the path that we paved ourselves.

Years after, the debate that whether Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted a secular or ethnocratic state stands unresolved. However, one thing that the founder of Pakistan instantly made clear is that he did not view Pakistan’s minorities as second-class citizens and assured to safeguard their rights in all the connotations.

A recent advertisement by Pakistan Army irked the rights groups:

An advertisement by Pakistan Army asking for ‘Christian only’ requirement for sanitation jobs drew ire. Pakistan’s human rights groups urged the military to scrap the policy of recruiting only Christians for sanitation work as it strengthens the discriminatory narrative further.

The advertisement was run by several English and Urdu newspapers on June 23rd and announced vacancies for the posts of drivers, sepoys, tradesmen and sanitation workers in the Army. However, what offended the rights’ activists and minority members was the specification of ‘Christians only’ for sanitation jobs.

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The ad was condemned by minority rights activists, who urged the Pakistan Army to discard its discriminatory policy.

Asiq Aqeel, a minority rights activist, journalist, and researcher took to Twitter to express his views. 

“Honorable @OfficialDGISPR, Pak Christians have a great deal of love and respect for our armed forces. Even though a good number of Christians are working as janitors, tagging them with janitorial work badly reflects on us. We have high expectations from you. kindly intervene!!!” he wrote.

Mary James Gill, a Christian political worker and a member of the opposition PML-N party, also requested the DISPR to consider. 

“Dear DG ISPR, this is not the 1st time such ads have appeared. As a Pakistani Christian I feel no shame in cleaning my country but this policy muds the image of #Pakistan being discriminatory against a religious minority. Please take notice. Christians are not just sweepers,” she said.

Prominent minority rights activist Kapil Dev also raised the issue, requesting for an action.

Pakistan Army considers, taking a step in the right direction:

Considering the request, the advertisement was updated and the requirement for sanitation jobs that was particularly offensive to the minority members was removed.

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The step was appreciated and lauded, and is truly worthy of appreciation:

”Great news. Thanks to for removing the *Christian only* clause in the call for application for Sanitary workers paving the way to ensure Christian Pakistanis are not labeled as just for sanitary jobs. Heartening our request was accepted & the clerical mistake was fixed.”

The decision is heartening and worthy of appreciation, and surely a step in the right direction. The only way to a progressing and peaceful future is an inclusive society.

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