Pakistan’s Catholic Church has welcomed the decision of Punjab government to fix a quota for minority students in the provincial universities.
“I think it is a very encouraging move by the government to approve 2% quota in universities for minority students for higher education,” said Cecil Chaudhry, executive director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, the human rights arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
“Many minority community students are unable to access higher education due to lack of adequate financial resources and access to quality education for them to compete at par. They also face deprivation on account of extra marks that are awarded to students of majority community based on having acquired religious education (Hafiz-e-Quran),” he said.
Chaudhry said that this move could contribute to improve the lives of people from minority communities in the long term.
“One concern however has also been that the job quota for minorities in Pakistan has to been criticised for not being implemented in its true spirit which is also why the job quota does not get completely filled. Thus in this case too the government must ensure to implement this order in letter and spirit so that the students belonging to minority communities may be able to benefit from this provision,” he added.
His comments came after Punjab government announced allocating two percent admission quota for university students belonging to religious minorities.
“Our Youth belonging to minorities have been facing issues in getting “high end jobs” under 5% quota because of lack of highly educated candidates,” Usman Buzdar, chief minister of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province tweeted.
“To solve this problem, under “Punjab Minorities Empowerment Package”, we have approved 2% quota for our minorities in universities. This will help them in getting better education and securing a better future for their families.”
“Every segment of our society has served Pakistan well and it is our responsibility to ensure their welfare and inshaAllah (God willing we won’t fail our minorities,” added Buzdar.
Pakistan’s independent human rights body in its annual report released on April 30, also endorsed the stance of non-Muslim minorities regarding government’s failure to implement five percent job quota as per the directive of the Supreme Court.