If the share of a religious minority in employment in the federal government can be taken as a measure of its social status, Pakistan’s non-Muslims are not doing too well.
Out of the 449,964 federal government employees, only 2.6 per cent or 11,521 are non-Muslims, according to the Annual Statistical Bulletin of Federal Government Employees 2010-11.
That is even less than the percentage of non-Muslims in the population. According to the 1998 census, the last time a census was held in the country, no-Muslims made up 3.7 per cent of the country’s population.
Christians, also Pakistan’s largest non-Muslim community, constituted 87.2 per cent of the non-Muslim federal government employees in 2010-11. Around 70 per cent of the 11,521 non-Muslim federal government employees belong to the lowest cadre: grades 1 and 2. The majority of them are Christians with Punjab and Islamabad domiciles, who work in the sanitation departments of federal ministries and divisions.
There were no non-Muslims in grade 22 and only three grade 21 officers, all of whom were from Sindh, in 2010-11.
The breakup of the non-Muslims in the federal government for 2010-11 is 10,053 Christians, 219 Ahmedis, 981 caste Hindus, 239 non-caste Hindus, two Parsis, one Buddhist and 26 employees belonged to other faiths.
Out of the 10,053 Christians, only 151 served in grades 17 to 22 during 2010-11, followed by 79 caste Hindus. At 87 per cent, a vast majority of the Hindus employed in the federal government are from Sindh.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2013.