Monday, February 10, 2014

Pakistan, father of three fired because he is a Christian

Fired from his job for being a Christian. 

This is what happens in Pakistan, in the city of Gujrat (Punjab province), where Naveed Maqsood has been waging a legal battle for over a year to put an end to the ongoing discrimination he has suffered at the hands of his boss, a Muslim woman, the principal of a state school. 

The man, aged 39, is the father of three young children and was employed as a driver. The episode dates to August 16, 2012 when, thanks to government quotas reserved for minorities, Naveed was employed by the Government Special Education Center Sara-e-Alamgeer in Gujrat. 

Nargis Parveen, the principal of the institute, harbored a personal grudge against the Christian, and from December 2012 to September 2013 blocked - illegally - payment of his salary.

The man approached her to ask her to let him do his work on a regular basis, but the principal explained that the place assigned to him was "destined" for an acquaintance of hers and that she "did not like him because he is a member of a minority". 

Failing to resolve the dispute, Naveed requested and was granted a transfer to Faisalabad, where he began working for the National Special Education Center

Meanwhile, the government ordered he be paid the wages he was due, but Nargis Parveen never put the man on the payroll.

The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) brought a case before a Lahore court on behalf of Naveed Maqsood. The court sent two subpoenas to the principal, but the woman never appeared before the judges. In January 2014 Naveed was called to testify in the presence of school authorities and the result was his dismissal.
For Bunny Edward, lawyer and coordinator of the NCJP legal aid program, Pakistan "is fast becoming an intolerant society. In Naveed Maqsood's case, we filed an appeal at the High Court of Lahore, so he may regain his place of employment and the wages owed him".

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