Pakistan: No money on pay day: Christian families plan to stay in on Easter Sunday

A baker in Saddar shows Easter eggs on sale for the upcoming holiday on Sunday. These holiday-themed desserts range between Rs10 and Rs160 (10¢ – $1.64 US)

As she prepared to fast on Thursday morning, all Rehana Masih could think about was how her children will not have new clothes to wear on Easter.

The night before her husband had given her some bad news. He had told her that unlike last year or the year before, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) would not be giving its 10,000 Christian employees a stipend.

“All around the globe, governments are helpful and facilitate its citizens in celebrating religious events and rituals,” she said. “In Pakistan, however, I feel helpless. I don’t know how to explain this to my children.” She added that although Easter is an important event in the Christian calendar, Rehana and her husband had decided to stay at home after Sunday Mass because they don’t feel like they can face their neighbours.

The president of the KMC’s Collective Bargaining Agent, Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah, told The Express Tribune that their sanitation staff, nurses and paramedical staff had not received their salaries since March. The district South staff, he added, had not been paid for two months.

According to Shah, he had received some information about the March salary being given to grade 1 to 15 employees. “We are not hopeful as time has run out,” he said. “Tomorrow is Good Friday and Easter is on Sunday.” He added that they have decided to celebrate Easter sitting in front of Karachi Press Club with the 10,000 staff members who had not been paid…