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Lady health care workers end Islamabad protest after govt agrees to meet demands

Hundreds of women had been camped on the main thoroughfare in the federal capital since October 24. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: After the government formed a committee to look into their demands of increment in salaries and improved service structure, the lady health care workers called off their protest outside the parliament in Islamabad on the seventh day.

Hundreds of women had been camped on the main thoroughfare in the federal capital since October 24. Their demands included uniform pay packages for lady health care workers, promotion, and gratuity for employees and security during the anti-poliovirus campaign.

Lady healthcare workers, who number over 100,000 across Pakistan, are tasked to run door-to-door vaccination campaigns, and were also recently mobilised to fight COVID-19.

In the last week, negotiations with the government had repeatedly failed, until Monday night when Ali Muhammad Khan, the state minister for parliamentary affairs, visited the protesters again and promised to have their concerns resolved.

Soon after a notification was issued by the ministry of parliamentary affairs.

The notification dated October 19, seen by, states that the government has agreed to forward the demand of identical salaries to the Council of Common Interest to deliberate on.

“Some of these women have been working at the same grade without a promotion and pay of less than Rs.20,000 per month for several years now,” Rukhsana Anwar, president of the National Program Health Employees, had told on Monday morning.

A committee was also constituted in Punjab to examine the issue of pension and gratuity for the healthcare workers, states the notification. 

As far as the service structure was concerned, the notification added that the Punjab government will make all possible efforts to the needful in three months, and the secretary of health in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will also meet the lady health care workers.

Meanwhile, the government “shall write a letter to the inspector general police of all provinces to provide adequate security to the employees during their campaign,” read the notification.

“We called off our sit-in last night,” Anwar told on Tuesday morning, “On the prime minister’s orders, we were told that our demands will be addressed in the next few months.”

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