PESHAWAR: The employees of the provincial and federal government departments from across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Friday observed a sit-in outside the assembly building here, demanding increase in salaries and allowances.
The participants of the protest rally, organised by All Government Employees Coordination Council (AGECC), marched on the GT Road from Hashtnagri to the provincial assembly, shouting slogans against the government.
The rally also caused inconvenience to the people for many hours as vehicular traffic was diverted to link roads. According to our correspondents police had erected hurdles in the jurisdictions of different districts to restrict movement of employees, who demanded of the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of increase in salaries of lawmakers and neglecting the employees.
Warn they will march on Islamabad if demand not met
Jamaat-i-Islami MPA Inayatullah Khan, Awami National Party MPAs Sardar Hussain Babak and Samar Bilour, who also participated in the rally, supported the demands of the protesters and promised to raise their voice on the assembly floor. They informed the protesters that a Senate standing committee on finance and revenue had unanimously approved perks and privileges for the senators but ignored the government employees.
Earlier, the rally was jointly led by leaders, including Haji Saleem Khan, All Pakistan Clerks Association president Sareer Khan, Workers Welfare Board president Shah Zulqarnain and paramedical association president Ruidar Shah. Representatives of railways workers union, SNGPL, EOBI, Nadra, Private Education Network, owners of private hostels, marriage halls and retired employees also participated.
Wearing black armbands, the employees shouted slogans for increase in salaries and urged the government to include the ad hock financial relief of 2010 in their salaries.
The employees’ representatives stressed the need for increase in different allowances, including house rent, medical, utility, and risk allowance in proportion to the prevailing inflation.
The employees’ leaders said the government had ignored them in the federal and provincial budgets despite the fact that prices of daily use commodities were increasing by the day. They said Covid-19 pandemic had paralysed normal life, and they had no other source of income to meet their expenditures.
The AGECC leaders announced that their pen-down strike would continue till end of the current month, and warned that in case the government did not meet their demands they would devise a plan to march on Islamabad. They said the AGECC had already presented its charter of demands to the government, but it did not bother to announce raise in salaries and allowances.
They also passed resolutions against privatisation of steel mills and sacking of employees from different organisations.
The protesters, who offered Friday prayers on the main road, also demanded an end to the lockdown and opening of educational institutions and other workplaces under SOPs.
They lauded the Sindh government for increase in salaries of the employees and demanded of Prime Minister Imran Khan to honour his tall claims about bringing positive change in the lives of the poor. They said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leadership had ignored its commitments made with the people prior to the general elections.
According to the protesters, deputy commissioner Peshawar Mohammad Ali Asghar and Ajmal Khan Wazir, advisor to the chief minister on information and public relations, persuaded them to end the rally, but the negotiations remained fruitless.
Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2020