Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Thursday took notice of a nurses' protest in Karachi and ordered Deputy Inspector General (South) Sharjeel Kharal to release the arrested protesters.
Chaos had ensued outside the Chief Minister House earlier today when police resorted to the use of water cannons to disperse protesters who had gathered to demand an increase in wages for nursing staff and restoration of service structure. At least 25 people were arrested.
According to DawnNewsTV, the Sindh Nurses' Alliance (SNA) had been protesting outside the Karachi press club for the past 15 days. Today, they were joined by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MPA Tahira Dua Bhutto and other opposition leaders. Soon after, the protesters started marching towards the CM House and were stopped by the police who had placed barriers on PIDC.
Police also launched baton charge and used water cannons to disperse them. The MPAs that were part of the protesting crowd were also hit by water cannons.
The protesting nurses said that the government was not serious in holding negotiations with them. They warned that the protest will not be called off until their demands were accepted.
The nurses' demands include:
- an increase in allowances
- following the 4-tier model
- handing over drawing and disbursing officer powers to principal
The nursing staff had announced a boycott of emergency wards of all government hospitals all over Sindh till their demands were met.
The chief minister said that there was "no reason to protest" after negotiations between SNA and health secretary. He said that "it was regrettable that a political party wanted to politicise the issues".
Nevertheless, Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Information Barrister Murtaza Wahab arrived at PIDC to hold talks with the protesters and Shah also directed Provincial Health Secretary Saeed Awan to resolve the nurses' problems immediately.
The provincial health secretary and the commissioner had held talks with the alliance in May and assured that their demands will be accepted. But PTI MPA Haleem Adil Sheikh said yesterday that the demonstrators will march towards the CM House if a notification affirming the acceptance of demands was not issued by yesterday evening.