ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Monday assured protesting employees of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) and restaurant owners that he would take up their issues with the prime minister in the upcoming meeting of the cabinet.
Giving assurance to the Pims employees holding a sit-in at D-Chowk, the minister said he would play his role in bringing amendments to the Medical Teaching Institution (MTI) Ordinance, restoring their civil servant status. Moreover, parliamentarians from different political parties expressed solidarity with the protesters and promised to take up the issue on the floor of parliament.
In November, President Dr Arif Alvi promulgated the MTI ordinance under which the hospital would be run through a board of governors (BoG). According to the ordinance, the BoG will deal with all affairs of 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.
On Monday, the employees gathered at the hospital and at 11:30am moved towards D-Chowk and held a sit-in there.
Later, a delegation of the employees met Sheikh Rashid in the interior ministry.
Grand Health Alliance Chairman Dr Asfandyar Khan, while talking to Dawn, said they informed Mr Rashid that Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, in presence of MNA Ali Awan, had agreed that the demands of the employees would be fulfilled.
“However, we told the minister that no one bothered to contact us after which he promised that he would talk to the SAPM and Prime Minister Imran Khan. Later, the minister contacted me again and told me that the issue will be addressed in two days so we have decided to announce further line of action after two days,” he said.
Meanwhile, JUI-F leader Senator Maulana Attaur Rahman also reached D-Chowk and assured the protesters that he would take up the issue on the floor of the parliament.
He said the whole country had been disturbed due to the current government. He also invited the employees to join the PDM rally on Tuesday (today).
PPP Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi also joined the protesting employees. He said the prime minister had claimed that he would address all the issues within three years but he destroyed everything and even 1pc of his party manifesto could not be implemented.
Jammat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq also addressed the employees.
Meanwhile, a restaurant owners’ delegation met the interior minister and apprised him of the financial problems they had been facing due to a ban on dine-in service.
The minister told the delegation that he would take up the matter with the prime minister in the upcoming meeting of the cabinet.
All Rawalpindi Restaurants Association has given a deadline for protest if they were not allowed to resume dine-in service.
Chairman of the association Mumtaz Ahmed told the minister that practically the eateries were the only sector facing closure due to Covid-19.
He said due to the lockdown of the restaurants, 50,000 workforce have become jobless and hundreds of restaurants forced to close their outlets. The minster assured the delegation that the government would not deprive even a single worker of his job.
He said the government might offer a relief package to the restaurant industry.
Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2021