How the Grinch stole Christmas! | Pakistan Today

How the Grinch stole Christmas!

Hopes of scores of Christian staffers at the Punjab Civil Secretariat were dashed on Saturday as no senior bureaucrat or any political figure showed up on their traditional Christmas ceremony, let alone announce a special allowance, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Every year, around 120 Christian employees, mostly sanitary workers, in the Civil Secretariat pool in money and hold a cake cutting ceremony to celebrate Christmas in the committee room. The function is traditionally attended by a senior bureaucrat from the Welfare Wing or one of the minority leaders. However, this year no bureaucrat or politician could take time out for Christmas celebrations. At the same time, no allowance was announced for the workers, some of whom have been working there for over 30 years.
“We invited the additional secretary Welfare Wing and the additional chief secretary but both said they were in a meeting. Previously, we used to invite Kamran Michael but now he has become a senator and doesn’t care about poor Christians like us. We celebrate our event only once a year, but no one cares for our happiness,” Stephen Sarfraz, a worker told Pakistan Today.
The employees further said that WASA employees get a fixed Christmas allowance of Rs 1,200, while those at the Governor’s House and the CM’s Secretariat also receive the same. However, they maintained that they still await the same gesture from the government.
“There are workers serving for over 37 years with no fixed timings as we are on duty almost all the time. But only a few hundred rupees has become an impossible dream for us because no one listens to poor workers. Last year Kamran Michael was invited on the ceremony and he announced that money will be transferred into our accounts, but no such money showed up. Senator Michael lied to us,” Manzoor Sahotra, another staffer, said.
Additional Secretary Welfare Wing Masood Mukhtar, while speaking to Pakistan Today, said most of the Christian employees were daily wage workers and the government was managing their salaries despite the ongoing financial crunch. “We will have to confirm if employees at WASA, CM’s Secretariat or the Governor’s House are getting any special allowance because the government as part of austerity measures banned even Eid Milan party for us and the same has been banned for Christians,” he said. “I was not invited to any cake cutting ceremony or Christmas celebration otherwise I would have loved to go,” he maintained.

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