The federal government had issued a notification in March 2009 ordering quota for religious minorities in all federal government departments.
The Sindh government’s notification has brought a new hope for minorities.
The notification (No-SORI-S&GAD-2-1/1994) issued by the chief secretary under the subject ‘Reservation of 5 percent quota for employment of minorities (non-Muslims) across the board in Sindh government services and jobs’ stated that the Sindh government has issued the notification to ensure jobs for non-Muslims as defined in Sub-Section 3b of Article 260 of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan.
“Besides direct recruitment, the notification would also ensure recruitment of the quotas of religious minorities in combined competitive examinations such as Central Superior Services (CSS), in addition to their participation in open merit,” said the notification.
However, the notification would not cover jobs in the provincial government’s temporary projects, recruitments through promotions or transfers, short-term vacancies for less than six months duration and the isolated posts in which vacancies were occasionally available.
Talking to Daily Times, Sindh Minority Affairs Minister Dr Mohan Lal Kohistani said it was a remarkable step by the PPP government for the religious minorities of the province.
“After assuming charge of the ministry, I tried to convince the government to make this move and at last the government has issued the notification,” said Dr Kohistani.
The religious minorities in province have welcomed the move and hoped that provincial government would ensure the implementation of the step.
“The Pakistani Sikhs, especially those in Sindh, were never given jobs and after this move, we
hope to be employed in government departments,” said Sikh Naujawan Sabha Chairman Sardar Ramesh Singh.
Pakistan Hindu Foundation Chairman DM Maharaj also welcomed the decision but said there must be a special quota for the Hindu scheduled castes (formerly called untouchables) of the province.
“The last national census clearly stated that Hindus are the biggest religious minority of Pakistan and the majority of them live in Sindh. Interestingly, the scheduled castes are almost 92 percent of the total Hindu population of Pakistan, but they are never given importance in the quotas,” said Maharaj.
Society for Development and Human Rights Secretary General Akhtar Baluch, who has conducted a detailed research on scheduled castes, said it was unlikely that lower caste Hindus would be given their share in the quota.
“There is a 2 percent quota for minorities since 1948, but they were never given their share. Despite being in majority, they have never been given reserved seats in assemblies,” he said.
The 1998’s National Population Census stated that religious groups other than Muslims represent 3.72 percent of the total population of the country and Article 27(I) of the constitution provides equal opportunity to all citizens including minorities for appointment in the services of Pakistan without any discrimination on the ground of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth.