LAHORE, March 21: Officers belonging to the Punjab Civil Service (PCS) cadre on Monday observed what they claimed a complete strike across the province under the banner of PCS Officers Association.

A majority of the officers did not attend their offices at the Civil Secretariat and other departments in the provincial capital and at all district headquarters. “The strike remained successful and we will continue our drive till acceptance of our demands,” association president Rai Manzoor Nasir told Dawn in the evening.

He said the officers staged protest camps in Rawalpindi district and entire PCS officers staged a sit-in to press the government for accepting their genuine demands.

He alleged that government and the DMG officers tried to pose the situation normal at the Civil Secretariat and other departments by getting police in the civvies and other lower-cadre staff seated in offices of various PCS officers.

“But, their drama remained useless. The government must remember that such tactics couldn't force the officers to withdraw their demands, and it will have to accept these demands if it desires to calm down the situation,” Nasir added.

Nasir said the government had already suspended 29 officers including him, additional home secretary Shuaib Warraich, deputy secretary (confidential) Naeem Ghaus and various directors and section officers.

Besides, he said, the government had also issued show-cause notices to 60 or so officers and ordered them to reply within seven days. “It seems that the government wants to dismiss the officers at a latter stage instead of conducting an inquiry into the matter as per law,” he said.

He said the government had also given messages through some backdoor channels to the association to end its strike. “But, we have clearly told them to accept our genuine demands and withdraw false and baseless cases registered against the officials on Friday,” he said.

About association's further strategy, Nasir said the officials would continue their strike with massive support of the All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA).

“To support the PCS officers, APCA has also given a call to observe strike on a daily basis from Tuesday (today) in a protest gathering at Khanewal on Monday,” he said.

He said the officers had also even offered to submit their resignations to the association stating that it would be better for them to quit instead of working under a pro-DMG and discriminating attitude of the Punjab government.

He alleged the government had not even spared capturing a blind officer besides a cardiac patient, deputy secretary Aftab Hussain. “The police officials didn't provide medicines to Aftab during detention, that resulted in his shifting to Punjab Institute of Cardiology later,” he deplored.

On the other hand, the Punjab government spokesman said that the situation remained normal in Punjab as most of the officers performed duties in their offices.

Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah, spokesman Pervaiz Rashid, chief secretary Nasir Mahmood Khosa, additional chief secretary Sami Saeed and DMG Officers Association president and livestock secretary Dr Jahanzeb were not available for their comment despite repeated calls made by this scribe.

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