ISLAMABAD: The employees of federal secretariat staged a violent protest for the first time in the history of the capital on Wednesday apparently due to mishandling of the issue of their salaries by the government.
Inside sources told Dawn that the issue of salaries of the employees of Pak Secretariat, which houses several federal ministries, was discussed during the last three consecutive meetings of the federal cabinet. In one of the meetings, members of a special committee formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan — comprising Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan — asked the prime minister to resolve the issue of salaries soon, otherwise it could become a serious problem.
A source said in one of the cabinet meetings the prime minister admonished Dr Ishrat Hussain, the head of Pay and Pension Commission, for not deciding the matter even in two-and-a-half years.
Some of the cabinet members complained that they did not know what progress the commission had made.
It has also been learnt that some of the cabinet members tried to politicise the issue of salaries of the employees by telling the prime minister that the employees were inducted by the previous governments of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
The source said now the government was quite worried about the protest of the employees as the Pakistan Democratic Movement had announced support to them. As a result, Mr Khattak, Mr Rashid and Mr Khan kept on negotiating with the representatives of the employees till the filing of this report.
When contacted, Ali Muhammad Khan expressed hope that the talks between the two sides would be successful at a late night meeting.
Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2021