After discrimination, Hindu reporter accuses boss of threats
KARACHI / KARACHI: A day after The Express Tribune printed the story about a Hindu reporter, Sahib Khan Oad, who was forced to drink water from a separate glass at the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), Karachi, the management allegedly pressured him to either withdraw his statement or face consequences.
The bureau chief of the government news agency, APP, Pervez Aslam, has issued a clarification that the reporter did not face any discrimination at the workplace. He claimed the story was baseless and misleading. However, the victim stands by his viewpoint demanding an impartial inquiry into the matter.
“They have now started mentally torturing me by threatening to fire me,” said Oad. “I have now gone on leave to avoid mental agony.” He said that the bureau chief was pressuring him to issue a rebuttal against The Express Tribune story, which has been shared across international media. When the issue was earlier taken up by a non-government organisation that wrote a letter to the federal information ministry and the latter ordered an inquiry into the matter, the bureau sent a report to Islamabad, stating that nothing was wrong.
ccording to Oad, his bureau chief later called him. “‘What is wrong with you? You are making a fuss on this issue. I have now sent a report to Islamabad. Please don’t make it an issue. I am not against you, but some people in office had reservations’,” Oad quoted Aslam as saying.
Meanwhile, Aslam claimed that the news report is contrary to reality. “There is absolutely no discrimination against any minority member in APP whether they are Hindu or Christian,” said Aslam, adding that the report was based on the malicious letter sent by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) to the federal government regarding alleged discrimination against the Hindu reporter. “No one forced him to eat on a separate table,” he claimed. “He takes Iftari [and] meals along with other colleagues whenever he is in office.”
The bureau chief further added that when Oad was transferred from Hyderabad to Karachi a few months ago, he did not have a house in the city. “I provided accommodation to him at my home, extending necessary facilities as my family member,” he claimed. “How can I go against him in such a way?”
On the other hand, Oad maintained that everything was well till his son, Raj Kumar, visited his office and everyone found out that he was a scheduled-caste Hindu. “Earlier, I was treated as Muslim because of my name, which carries Khan in it,” he claimed. “I did not reveal my identity because of religious polarisation until my son disclosed my identity and most of my colleagues made faces at me.”