Pims employees protest on Constitution Avenue in Islamabad on Tuesday. — White Star
Pims employees protest on Constitution Avenue in Islamabad on Tuesday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Employees of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) reached the Constitution Avenue on Tuesday to show solidarity with the federal government employees and protest against the Medical Teaching Institution (MTI) Ordinance.

They held a sit-in in front of the Parliament House for around four hours and claimed that they might be left with no choice but to hold a permanent sit-in similar to that of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf while it was in opposition.

In November 2020, President Dr Arif Alvi promulgated MTI Ordinance suggesting that the hospital will be run through Board of Governors (BoG).

According to the ordinance, BoG will deal with all affairs of the Pims once it becomes an MTI.

The members have been appointed and notified by the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) on the recommendation of a search and nomination council.

They also held a meeting and have elected Dr Hamayun Mahmand as BoG Chairman.

The BoG has overall superintendence and control over the functions of the hospital.

Pims employees on Tuesday reached the Constitution Avenue at around 1pm and joined the sit-in of federal government employees who had already blocked one side of the road in front of the Parliament House and were demanding increase in their salaries.

Grand Health Alliance Chairman Dr Asfandyar Khan, while addressing the protesters, said it was regrettable that employees were protesting for the last seven weeks but government did not pay any heed to it.

“It is the same place where Prime Minister Imran Khan held a sit-in for 126 days and we joined him as we believed that he wanted to bring change. However, it seems that either he was not sincere with his claims or his advisers have been keeping him in the dark,” he said.

Dr Asfandyar said that employees of Pims were in favour of health reforms but they would never allow a policy in which they would lose their jobs and general public would also be forced to pay for the treatment, which is currently being provided free of cost.

Later, while talking to Dawn, he said a few weeks ago Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan contacted them and, during a meeting, he agreed that all the demands of employees were genuine but then he did not turn up.

“We have been left with no option but to hold a permanent sit-in as unfortunately there is no one to listen to us. We will hold a sit-in in front of parliament house as it is the place where issues of people are addressed,” Dr Asfandyar said.

Govt employees end protest

All Government Employees Grand Alliance also staged a protest in favour of their demands, but dispersed after negotiations with the local administration. They, however, gave a fresh deadline of March.

The alliance announced to stage the protest in faovour of their demands and all the employees from other parts of the country to join it.

The police said 3,557, officials, including 1,000 officials and officers of Rangers and FC were deployed in and around Red Zone to maintain law and order.

Besides, barricades and barbed wire were also put in place at different entry points of the Res Zone, including Jinnah Avenue, near old Parade Ground, they added.

The officials of the capital administration said that the leaders of the alliance and administration reached an agreement that they would remain peaceful. After their assurance they were allowed to enter the Constitution Avenue.The remained peaceful during the protest and chanted slogans in favour of their demands.

The protesters urged the government to increase their salaries and allowances proportionate to inflation and accept their other demands related to their work.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2021


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