Living in a 99 percent Muslim country, Pakistan’s minorities—Untouchable Christians, Hindus, Ahmadiyya, and enslaved brick kiln workers—face systemic discrimination on any given day as they seek jobs, education, and healthcare. Now, these minorities will be the hardest hit as the country undergoes a global pandemic, which the Finance Ministry estimates will cost 3 million jobs, and the worst locust plague in three decades.
In the past few weeks, Pakistan has attempted to mitigate COVID-19’s effect on its economy and people. However, these efforts have largely ignored the needs of Pakistan’s minorities. The result is an increase in human rights violations.
One of Pakistan’s meager efforts is the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program, designed to distribute a one-time cash payment of Rs. 12,000 (about $75 USD) to 12 million poor families. The Ehsaas website specifically states the program’s purpose is to help the most vulnerable get food and sustenance.
However, the program is so riddled with problems that it is useless for minorities. …
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