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KARACHI: More than 9,500 Christian workers of the civic agencies could not get their salaries before their annual Christmas festival to celebrate it properly with their families.

The workers, as a protest, have announced that they would celebrate Christmas on the road along the Karachi Press Club.

These workers are associated with the district municipal corporations (7,000 workers) and the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (2,500 workers) and have not been paid owing to the lethargic attitude of the Sindh government bureaucrats, who did not release the funds in time.

This is not the first time that the civic workers have not received the advance salary in time to celebrate their religious festival properly. Earlier, Muslim as well as Hindu workers were also not paid in time and could not celebrate their respective religious festivals — Eidul Azha and Diwali.

The Sindh High Court had ordered on Dec 19 that the Christian workers be paid by Dec 20, 2017 so that they could celebrate Christmas, but the Sindh government bureaucracy did not follow the court order.

Responding to Dawn queries, All Pakistan Local Government Workers Federation leader Zulfiqar Shah said it was a pity that despite the high court order the workers were not paid. He said that the workers in Punjab were always paid before the festivals, but in Sindh the government did not do the same. He said that earlier this year the Muslim and Hindu workers were also not paid before Eidul Azha and Diwali.

KWSB’s United Workers Union leaders Joseph Sanam, Punhal Magsi, Akram Khan and others, condemning the water board management for nonpayment of salaries to the over 2,500 Christian workers, also announced that the workers, along with their families, would celebrate Christmas and perform their religious rites on the road near the Press Club on Monday.

They also criticised the management for its discriminatory attitude towards minority community workers, overwhelming majority of whom were low-grade employees working as health workers and kundi men.

They also urged the Sindh High Court chief justice to take suo motu notice of this “criminal act” of the KWSB management.

Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2017