Equal employment opportunities (EEO) is an interesting concept. It sows the seeds of merit in employment related matters. Moreover, it provides basis for the best practices of affairs concerning service. For this reason it is popular all around the world. It is claimed to be practiced in Pakistan as well. But here it is a notion which is alluring for the onlookers but merely ceremonial for its beneficiaries. There are several reasons behind its lapse from its actual place in the country.
Equal employment opportunities (EEO) legislation make sure that terms and conditions of employment-related actions should be non discriminatory. Article 25 of the constitution ensures the equality of citizens, thus indirectly saying that equal opportunities must be available to all citizens. Furthermore, Article 27 clearly states that appointments should be made regardless of race, sex, place of birth, caste and religion. Labor welfare package and labor policy also paves the way for EEO. After analyzing laws and studying other labor relating policies it sounds that EEO is in action in its full swing in the county. Appointments are made in accordance with the true letter and spirit of EEO. No discrimination is kept in consideration when it comes to promoting employees. Development opportunities are equally provided to everyone at work places. Same conditions of service are provided to all of the members who are equal to each other. Work load is divided in a just manner. Wrongful terminations are non-existent. Alas, this is far from the reality. In actuality situation is quite grim and different from the rosy picture projected above. Nepotism, sycophancy, gender discrimination, and abuse of power are taking place in organizations. Higher official may appoint a person at one stroke of his pen. An employee can be fired merely at one verbal order passed by a senior. Immediate question which comes on surface is that why the malpractices which are putting obstacles in the true execution of EEO are in place in the presence of laws and clear policies which curb discrimination? A series of stereotype answers come in front followed by traditional remedies for warding off the discrimination. Neither they aid to develop a strategy for curtailing discrimination nor do they quench the thirst of someone probing for the real reasons behind.
Equal opportunity stems from the welfare state system. A welfare state in its capacity tries its best to provide education, medical care, financial support and shelter to its citizens on the equal grounds. Now look at it from the perspective that it helps its citizens to get ready for their careers regardless of their class, color, religion, sex and race. Access to good education and other facilities aid citizens to become the best of what they want to be in their lives. Thus, when they begin their careers the one that is best goes and get what he/she is aiming for. Categorically others land where they deserve to. Important thing to note here is that the state does its best to help its citizens to get established in their careers. Even the countries where welfare system is not in practice but the government tries its best to enable its citizens for starting their careers by providing them good education and other facilities they do become most of the times what they aspire for. Situation in Pakistan is altogether different. Government educational system is disappointing. Public sector educational institutions are present but are not disseminating education the way it should be or their presence is merely symbolic. This situation pushes people to go for private educational institutes. Gigantic fees of privately owned educational institutes make it impossible for most of the people to gain education. Thus, they are forced to do ordinary jobs, leaving the best for the top class of society. It is like living in the fool’s paradise if someone expects EEO to get flourish in Pakistan in the given circumstances. Jobs are merely for those who have access to education. Law and governmental policies for EEO cannot be effective unless each and every one is provided the access to education. A specific class has established its hegemony in the public and private sector organizations and they do what really is in their favor.
Second factor due to which the dream of EEO has not been yet realized is the checkered history of democracy in the country. Democracy bestows equality of rights, liberty of thinking and freedom of speech to people, thus recognizing that everyone is equal. Repeated military coups brought military dictators in power. They ruled the country for number of years, in order to extend their rules the dictators collaborated with elite of the country. It brought the top of the society in echelons of power and they penetrated in the realm of decision making. Policies, strategies and decisions were made by keeping their whims and wishes in consideration. Even once the military regimes were over these remains of the military dictators, the top class, glued to the throne. Still the same class is sitting on the top and run of the mill is in action. Their relatives, friends and close ones hold the key positions leaving minimum room for talented ones to come in front. Same trend of patronage of the close ones may be witnessed in the private sector.
EEO will continue to remain a dream unless the two major reasons discussed above are not addressed. Government should play its due role to empower its citizens so that they become capable of working at good positions. Democracy should also flourish in its true spirit in order to make the masses realize that all are equal and have the right to do what they want to do. Without addressing the both afore stated issues EEO will remain a catchy phrase for raising the enchanting slogans about the false claims of non-discrimination in the sphere of employment practices.