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Addressing minorities’ grievances

The report about 9,500 Christian workers of district municipal corporations and the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board not been paid their salaries ahead of Christmas is condemnable, but if truth be told, it is not at all surprising.
The state in which minority communities of the country find themselves is deplorable to say the least. Discrimination against Christian community and unequal employment opportunities continue despite the tall claims about equal treatment of citizens made by government officials every now and then.
The Sindh High Court (SHC) had ordered the authorities to pay salaries to Christian workers by December 20 so that they could celebrate Christmas properly, but as usual the bureaucracy in the province failed to deliver in compliance with court order. This is not the first time the municipal corporations in Sindh have failed to pay their Christian employees in time before Christmas.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto attended a Christmas cake-cutting ceremony in Karachi on Monday and vowed to ‘wage struggle for Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan’ and eliminate discrimination based on caste, colour or creed. Such statements are meaningless until they are not followed by the requisite action.
While symbolic gestures of celebrating festivals of minority communities are important, the PPP chairman should also take notice of his party-led government’s failure to address the grievances of the minorities, otherwise his consistent statements assuring the minorities of support would be considered mere lip-service. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah should act against those responsible for ignoring the SHC’s order to pay Christian employees of municipal corporations in time and ensure that the issue is resolved once and for all.
It is equally important for officials at the federal level to understand that Christmas celebrations on PIA flight and congratulatory statements by prime minister and ministers on festivals of minority communities are not enough. Practical steps need to be taken to ensure an end to the discriminatory practices and religious intolerance so equality in true sense can be guaranteed.



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