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HRCP criticizes SC decision: Air hostesses case

LAHORE, Nov 11: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has criticized upholding by the Supreme Court of the PIA policy to retire air-hostesses at the age of 45, saying it may set an undesirable precedent.

In a statement issued here on behalf of HRCP chairperson Tahir Muhammad Khan and secretary-general Hina Jilani on Tuesday, the commission said the Supreme Court’s verdict amounted to violation of the constitutional provisions of gender equality.

It said, “the fact that male hosts will continue to perform their duty beyond the age set for women means that the latter are being given discriminatory treatment by the airlines.” The Sindh High Court had also ruled that forcible retiring of the female hostesses represented discrimination on the basis of gender, it added.

The HRCP said the PIA’s stance that the passengers liked being served by young girls might not match the preferences of the airlines bosses, but it was highly offensive to women in the country. “Age has no bearing on the quality of professionalism, and it is sad that this factor has been overlooked while deciding this case.”

It was also worth noting that the airlines all over the world had over the last few decades removed strict age and marital status restrictions on air-hostesses, realizing the fact that it was the quality of their work rather than any other factor that should determine issues of employment, the HRCP said.

The commission also said it was high time that the national carrier followed this example rather than adopting the policies that violated the rights of female employees and undermine their status.

Source: Dawn

Date:11/12/2003

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