Minorities in Islamabad continue living in ‘deplorable conditions’: Report

Islamabad, Dec 22: Minority groups in Pakistan are being denied governmental jobs and support, and being attacked by extremists, even in the capital city, a report has said.

During the 65 years of the National Assembly, the 207 seats for parliamentarians were increased to 335, while the women’s seats were raised from 15 to 60.

However, the number seats reserved for minorities, the 10 seats approved 30 years ago, remains the same to date.

People belonging to the Christian community living in Islamabad believe that even these 10 seats were filled by selection, rather than election.

Aneel Massih, a student of international relation, believes that minorities, particularly Christians, are deliberately sidelined in the country.

“They’re often verbally abused in public and harassed in the street by others,” the Daily Times quoted Massih, as saying.

He said that after completing graduation or master’s, very low-paid jobs are offered to minorities by various institutions in Islamabad.

“If there is a clerical or security guard’s job, they won’t give it to a Christian,” he claimed.

The paper also quoted 60-year-old Iqbal Massih as saying that the situation had worsened for Christians, especially in Islamabad and Lahore, after the assassinations of “two of the strongest political supporters – Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti”.

“We are losing our supporters gradually in Pakistan. If we decided to protests in numbers for our rights, someone can target us,” Iqbal said. (ANI)