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Dalit reporter in Pakistan forced to eat separately at workplace

Islamabad: A Hindu reporter in Karachi in Pakistan was forced to drink water from a separate glass at his workplace after his colleagues found out that he belongs to the Scheduled Caste, it was reported on Tuesday.

Sahib Khan Oad, who works as a senior reporter with government news agency, Associated Press of Pakistan, was allegedly barred from drinking water in the same glass and sharing the utensils with other Muslim staff, an Express News report said.

Oad hails from Dadu district, in Sindh province, and has completed his Masters from Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad.

The discriminatory attitude started soon after his younger son, Raj Kumar, visited his office and everyone found out that he was Hindu, and belongs to the Scheduled Caste.

"Actually my name contains the word 'Khan' so everyone in the office initially thought I was Muslim," he explained.

"The bureau chief asked me to separate my drinking water glass in the office because some colleagues had reservations."

Since Ramazan started, Oad's work environment worsened. He was not allowed to sit at the same dining table at the time of Iftar and senior colleagues have suggested he bring his own plate and glass if he wants to eat in the office. "I have now bought a separate glass and plate for the office," he said.

APP Karachi bureau chief Parvez Aslam denied making any such request. "He was suffering from flu so we suggested he arrange a separate glass," he said.

Aslam pointed out that he had supported Oad when the latter was transferred from Hyderabad and called the discrimination charges "total propaganda". "You can come to my office and see how he eats Iftar with us," he said.

Meanwhile, APP managing director Masood Malik said that they have started inquiry into the matter.

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