The five percent job quota for minorities in provincial government departments was either being sold to Muslims or given to the relatives of departmental heads, claimed local minority leaders
“Non-Muslims hold less than one percent of the total number of jobs in government departments,” said Michael Javed, a former MPA, heading the minority wing of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Sindh.
“A notification was issued in May 2010, which asked government departments to ensure that at least five percent of their total hiring was non-Muslims, but it was conveniently ignored,” highlighted Pitanbar Sewani, an MPA and member of the Sindh Assembly’s Standing Committee on Minority Affairs.
Michael Javed claimed that non-Muslim graduates were being posted in janitorial services to complete the official quota, whereas the notification was meant to fill reserved seats for grades four and above.
Chairman Pakistan Sikh Council Ramesh Singh said that his community had always been sidelined by the government; whether it was for jobs or funds to preserve their religious sites. “There are more than 5,000 Sikhs living in Sindh and none of them have a government job,” claimed Singh.
He said given the size of his community, the Sikhs of the province had no representation in parliament so they could only request the governor, chief minister and the minister for minority affairs to provide jobs and scholarships to their youth on the basis of merit. “We can only appeal as we don’t have anyone representing Sikhs in the assembly or the bureaucracy,” Singh maintained.
On the other hand, Provincial Secretary Minority Affairs Sindh Badar Jamil Mendhro claimed that ever since he took office, he sent a reminder to the respective departments and the notification was now being implemented, albeit at its own pace.
“The chief sectary has also taken notice of the issue and we are keeping the quota for non-Muslims open in fresh hiring,” he added.
Jamil explained that the notification was applicable for new vacancies that may arise and not for the jobs already in place. “As you know, hiring for a government department has a due process and vacancies don’t come up that regularly,” he pointed out.
Jamil claimed that in his own minority affairs department, 16 non-Muslims were hired in a span of four years out of 54 employees and some of them placed at senior posts.
But Pitanbar Sewani claimed that only a week ago, 500 vacancies were announced in various departments of the Sindh government and according to his information; non-Muslims were not informed about the opportunities. “I am not saying that they are being sold, but what really hurts is that despite presidential orders to fulfill the quota for non-Muslims, the Sindh government was not acting accordingly.