Pak-PWD employees protest against planned closure

Published June 6, 2024
Pak-PWD employees stage a protest in G-9 sector in Islamabad on Wednesday. — White Star
Pak-PWD employees stage a protest in G-9 sector in Islamabad on Wednesday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Although details sought by the Ministry of Housing and Works concerning winding-up of the Pak-Public Works Department have been delayed, employees of the department went ahead with their protest drive.

“We will continue our protest against this injustice and the move to lay off around 10,000 employees of the Pak-PWD – one of the oldest department in the country,” Shaukat Suleri, a senior union member of the department, said while addressing protesters in front of the Pak-PWD head office in G-9 sector on Wednesday.

The protest was organised by the Joint Action Committee comprising all six unions in the department.

Speakers slammed the government’s decision and said the move was only to benefit the other state-owned construction company that had been given a free hand at all infrastructure projects under the CDA.

It was highlighted that the PWD was established in 1854, while it was named Pak-PWD after independence. The department has the expertise in building construction and maintenance, whereas the other state-owned entities had the expertise in infrastructure development only.

The unions have announced that they would approach the courts if the government continued to move ahead with this decision.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Housing and Works had written a letter on May 31, 2024 to the director general, Pakistan Public Works Department (Pak-PWD), seeking detailed performance and workforce as well as financial position of the department.

At the same time in a move to hush-up the decision of the federal cabinet to abolish the Pak-PWD, the ministry directed the department to furnish all details and submit it within one day by 11am on Saturday (June 1).

However, a senior Pak-PWD official toldDawnthat the department had 16 circles and four zones across the country and complete details would be mentioned in a 50-page report.

The details sought by the ministry included a brief history and introduction of Pak-PWD, legal framework applicable to the department, grade-wise sanctioned and working strength of employees and budgetary details of employees and non-employees-related expenditure during the last five years.

Other details include development portfolio of the last five years such as the number of schemes and budgetary allocations, details of the federal government organisations, civil works, repair and maintenance handled by the Pak-PWD and the zone-wise details of major development projects completed so far by the department.

The housing ministry has also sought details of assets and liabilities, federal government buildings and lands under control of the Pak-PWD.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2024

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