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Public sector workers stage sit-in against govt policies outside Parliament

A union worker wearing a vegetable garland shouts slogans during a protest against government policies, in Islamabad on October 14, 2020. — AFP/Farooq Naeem

Public sector workers including those from All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA), Lady Health Workers, pensioners and various unions staged a demonstration against the government’s policies outside Parliament House on Wednesday.

A protest call was given by government employees asking participants to gather at D-Chowk in Islamabad.

The protest began at 9am and was underway at the time  this report was filed.

When the demonstrators gathered at D-Chowk tried to move on to Parliament House, they were prevented by police. However, they broke the barricades and managed to proceed ahead.

Protesters, who have vowed to continue their sit-in until their demands are fulfilled, are holding placards and banners demanding changes to the service structure, increase in pensions, life insurance, salary increases and protection in the anti-polio campaign.

A huge number of women are participating in the protest, mostly representing female healthcare workers. Furthermore, Pakistan International Airline (PIA) workers and Allama Iqbal Open University employees are also present.

This is the second protest by government workers to take place this month. They have mainly demanded in a rise in compensation to deal with the soaring prices of commodities. Some also demanded an end to privatisation of institutions and lay-offs.

According to a Geo News correspondent, a financial unit from the district administration will negotiate with the government employees to ascertain their demands and how they can be fulfilled.

As for Lady Health Workers, the prime minister’s aide on health Dr Faisal Sultan and the health secretary will speak to them, said the correspondent.

Some people were seen demonstrating against the rise in prices of essential commodities by displaying food items to mark their protest.

PPP chairman voices support

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari voiced his support for the government employees and in particular the lady health workers.

Bilawal demanded that the PTI government accept the protesters’ legitimate demands.

A statement issued by PPP said that the PPP chairman views due promotions, adequate pension and equal incentives as genuine rights of federal government employees.

“PPP supports their demcractic right of peaceful protest in Islamabad,” the statement added.

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