The head of the Catholic bishops’ conference of Pakistan called on the government to immediately fill up the 30,000 jobs assigned to minority groups in the country.
Archbishop Joseph Arshad of Islamabad and Rawalpindi noted that the law guarantees a five percent share of jobs reserved for minority groups but 30,000 of these jobs are vacant.
In a statement quoted by AsiaNews, the prelate said setting a five percent work quota “was a good move” to facilitate the integration and living conditions of minorities.
“However, we sadly learn that this measure was not understood in its spirit and was not implemented by all provincial governments,” said Archbishop Arshad.
The bishop said religious minorities include “marginalized and often discriminated communities at all levels of social life.”
He said the government should ensure that work recruitments are completed by the end of 2021.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the bishops’ conference raised concern over the rejection of a bill that would have put an end to religious conversions of minorities.
“The rejection of the bill goes against the right to religious freedom,” said Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad.
The prelate warned that with the decision violence will be “legitimized” and criminals will be encouraged “to use religion as an alibi for the crimes of kidnapping, rape, and forced conversion to Islam against girls belonging to minorities.”
Pakistan’s Child Marriage Restraint Act prohibits the marriage of a girl under 16 or a boy under 18, but the law is often ignored in cases of forced conversions and marriages of girls from religious minorities.