Despite having applied for the position of a sweeper in a government department two years ago, Noman Masih is still knocking on every door available to check the status of his application.
The 27-year-old, who has been a resident of Bajaur district for the past decade, applied for a vacant Class IV position of a cleaner in the Education Department, under the minority quota - Noman has not heard back in two years and the position has remained vacant as well. Expressing his frustration, Noman, while talking to the Express Tribune, said, “I moved to Bajaur in the hope of finding work but every government job I have applied to over here under the minority quota, I have been shunned.”
However, Noman is not the only one in this predicament. Another Christian, Rustam Masih, who moved from Sargodha to Bajaur for employment four years ago, has been struggling to land a government job. Rustam despondently remarked that the minorities in Bajaur district were being neglected and deprived of their right to employment despite a quote. According to information obtained by The Express Tribune from the Bajaur District Education Department under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, in the past few months, the department made 205 Class IV recruitments, but it ignored minorities and differently abled individuals.
As per the law, out of 205 recruitments, at least 9 people should have been from minorities. Furthermore, data obtained by the Express Tribune shows that the Department of Education recruited 13 sweepers in 2021, but not a single one belonged to a minority. Bajaur district has a minority population of 200 people who have been living here for the last 40 years, most of whom identify as Christians and migrated to Bajaur for employment as per Pervez Masih, President of the Bajaur Minority Association. Pervez, while talking to The Express Tribune said that whenever government recruitments open up, minorities are overlooked.
“The Department of Education did not even mention the minority quota in the recent recruitment drive and when we found out, the time to apply for Class IV positions was already up,” an irate Pervez said, “they put the advertisement in a newspaper which few people read. If they were serious about recruiting us they should have made an announcement in the local Church.” When inquired about minorities being overlooked in recruitment drives, an official of the Bajaur Education Department, while requesting anonymity, said that there is pressure from retired employees to hire their children on vacant posts.
“The issue was pending due to a barrage of recommendations from retired employees. However, we got the approval three months ago and we will soon recruit someone from a minority; the subsequent delay was due to the local body elections. In a few days, a local belonging to a minority will be recruited after an advertisement has been published,” the official told The Express Tribune.
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