No place for minorities in Imran Khan’s ‘Naya’ Pakistan

Daily Times: You cannot go around treating people who are not on the same level as you or who do not share the same religion as you by giving them jobs that are inferior just because they are inferior to you on the basis that they are not Muslims

A great deal has been written about the plight of minorities in Pakistan, some by the minorities themselves and some by the majority. Minority rights in Pakistan have always been disrespected. In this piece, however, I want to focus on another aspect of the statement the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader issued, which I did not believe initially. I heard Imran Khan speak in public many times and observed that he is not very supportive of the Pakistani minorities. During the 2013 election drive, he did not highlight the issues of minorities, neither did he give importance to Christians in the priority list submitted to the ECP. Christians are the biggest minority in Pakistan but placed at number second on purpose.

PTI is a pro-Islamic political party and it is clear that he favours the Jamaat-e-Islami, which is a radical political party and an ally of the PTI in KP. The PTI chief has been claiming for years that his party would provide justice to every citizen irrespective of caste, creed and religion but I personally observed him as rigid. Finally, the PTI nominated chief minister in KP is showing the real face of the PTI after coming into power in one province of Pakistan. While delivering his statement, he said that sanitary workers (cleaning drains, streets and roads) jobs will be given to minorities (Christians, Hindus and scheduled castes) only. Muslims from the province are not eligible for this job.

Finally, someone from the PTI has spoken and shown the double standards of their policies. It is worth reflecting that in Europe and the US, Muslims have built mosques by the thousands and practice their faith daily, and it does not cause any disruption. Since 9/11, there has been some change in attitudes by Europeans but it is minor compared to the horrors minorities face in Pakistan.

Christians have been serving the nation in the educational sector, health and social sectors. Unfortunately, Z A Bhutto nationalised their institutions and declared them second class citizens. Now the PTI expects them to perform cleaning or sanitary jobs.

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