HYDERABAD, March 29: The protesting Lady Health Workers (LHWs) have consented to briefly suspend their ongoing campaign and take part in the national consensus beginning from April 15. Nevertheless, they reiterated to resume the campaign soon after the process, and with more velocity, if their demand of job regularisation was not met.

General Secretary of the All Pakistan Lady Health Workers Association, Sindh Chapter, Ms Noor Bano Mallah demanded a judicial inquiry into police brutality against hundreds of LHWs during their sit-in on the National Highway at Kammoon Shaheed in Ghotki district on March 22.

She also called for immediate release of imprisoned colleagues along with withdrawal of false terrorism cases against them.

The LHWs were appointed under the National Programme for Family Planning and Primary Health in 1994 introduced by the late Benazir Bhutto and their services were still not regularised, she said. Some 17 years have passed since then.

“It was on the orders of the Chief Justice of Pakistan that we were allowed the minimum wages of Rs7,000 per month as previously the LHWs weren’t even accepted as workers under the Labour Policy and were drawing merely Rs2,900 as monthly remuneration, she said.”

“There are 112,000 lady workers out of 130,400 employees working all over the country under the National Programme with 25,000 working in Sindh alone. The ratio of female health workers is 100 per cent with the exception of supervisors and drivers, she said.Noor Bano Mallah praised the MNA Marvi Memon for her dedication and commitment and for joining in their 48-hour-long sit-in, besides enduring baton-charge and tear-gas shelling. She pleaded not to give the campaign a political shade.

She was addressing a press conference at the press club on Tuesday.

Our Mirpurkhas correspondent adds: Rallies and demonstrations continued in different parts of Sindh against police for detaining, registering false cases and roughly treating the protesting LHWs last week.

The agitating LHWs, supervisors and drivers of six talukas, wearing black arm-bands and carrying placards, took out a rally from the Civil Hospital to the press club. They kept raising slogans for the acceptance of their demands.

Chairperson, Lady Health Workers’ Association Bushra Arain said in a telephonic address that the struggle would continue till the acceptance of their demands.

She lamented the arrest, torture and registration of false cases against peaceful demonstrators by Ubauro police. She demanded regular transfer of monthly dues in the accounts of supervisors, drivers and health workers for better results.

The government should ensure return of vehicle meant for the programme from the possession of MNAs and MPAs.

The government should immediately issue regularisation of services notification and fill in the vacant positions on merit, Ms Bushra demanded.

She warned of boycotting the upcoming round of anti-polio campaign if their demands were not met.

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