Government employees end protest as demands accepted

Published February 12, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Federal Ministers Pervez Khattak, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan along with representatives of government employees addressing a press conference on Thursday.—Tanveer Shahzad / White Star
ISLAMABAD: Federal Ministers Pervez Khattak, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan along with representatives of government employees addressing a press conference on Thursday.—Tanveer Shahzad / White Star

• Basic pay in BPS 1-19 increased by 25pc
• Provinces to be asked to follow suit

ISLAMABAD: A day after chaotic clashes between protesting government employees demanding higher salaries and police, a ministerial committee reached an agreement with the representatives of agitating employees calling off the protest.

Under the agreement, an ad hoc relief of 25 per cent increase in basic pay will be given to the federal government employees, which will be made part of their salaries in the next budget.

The special committee constituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan was headed by Federal Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak and had federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan as its members.

Mr Khattak told a press conference that the government had decided to give 25pc (of the basic pay) as ad hoc relief to the federal government employees.

Later, the Ministry of Finance in a statement said that it, in accordance with the agreement, had agreed in principle to give “Disparity Reduction Allowance @ 25% of the basic pay of BPS-2017… to those civil employees in BPS (1-19) of the Federal Government (including employees of Federal Secretariat and attached departments) who have never been allowed additional salary equal to or more than 100% of the basic pay [whether frozen or not] or performance allowance”.

It said that the raise would be effective from March 1.

“The posts [of federal government employees] from BPS 1 to16 or equivalent will be upgraded on the pattern of Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from March 1, the finance division said. The grant of time-scale would also be considered on the same pattern in the next budget, it added.

It said that “Ad hoc Relief” will be made part of the basic salary with effect from July under the next budget.

“The provinces will be recommended for adoption of above [package] from their own resources,” the finance ministry said, adding that a summary was being placed before the cabinet for final approval of the package.

The defence minister said federal and provincial government employees were demanding pay raise for the last one year on the ground that there was a huge disparity of up to 200pc among salaries of different divisions, ministries and constitutional and autonomous bodies. “On average, there is 60pc difference among the salaries of employees of the federal government. It has been decided that that they would be given 40pc increase out of the total 60pc difference,” he added.

Mr Khattak said they had also heard grievances of employees of the provincial governments and Prime Minister Imran Khan had talked to the chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and directed them to resolve their issue of salaries in consultation with the employees. “We will direct the provincial governments to also deal with the disparity issue at provincial level.”

The defence minister said a procedure for the performance-based time-scale promotion of federal government employees would also be devised and a policy would be made. “An official who works hard should get more opportunities than the one who is lazy and doesn’t work hard.”

Mr Khattak thanked federal and provincial employees and their unions and apologised for Wednesday’s tear gas shelling by police in Islamabad. “We apologise for what happened yesterday as it should not have happened. Sometimes delays happen but it does not mean we are not working for you,” he said. He added that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf governments would also resolve the issues of health workers of Punjab and KP.

Sheikh Rashid said the matter had been resolved amicably and that the government would remain in touch with the employees in future. He said that salaries of officers of grade 20 to 22 would be increased in next budget. “We will implement the remaining decisions in next budget.”

Asked about shortage of anti-riot and safety gear faced by police, he said a proposal was being presented before today’s cabinet meeting for special allocation of funds to army, police, Frontier Corps, Rangers and all law enforcement agencies that come under his ministry to provide them with such equipment.

He also announced release of all protesting employees and withdrawal of cases against them.

He also said that the government was holding talks with Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan and hoped that the matters with them would also be amicably resolved.

Ali Mohammad Khan said that Wednesday was a bad day, otherwise employees remained peaceful throughout their movement. “There is a huge difference between the salaries of government employees, some are getting Rs20,000 (per month) and others Rs80,000,”

The minister of state said, adding that Prime Minister Khan wanted to end this disparity as he talked about one Pakistan and not the two. However, he also warned the employees “not to repeat the incident of Wednesday”.

Before the announcement, the special committee signed an agreement with the representatives of government employees.

On Wednesday, the area near Parliament House known as Red Zone had turned into a war zone, with the protesters and the police clashing with each other.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2021

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