‘Battlefield Islamabad’ as police use force against protesting govt servants
Police fire in the air, also target protesters with rubber bullets, arrest 40
The federal capital turned into a battlefield on Wednesday as security personnel and protesting government employees fought running battles in front of the Parliament. The police resorted to aerial firing to break up the protest, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
The police even fired rubber bullets directly on to the protesters who were demanding raise in their salaries. Dozens of protesting government servants were also bundled into the police trucks and taken to police stations. Protesters said 40 of their colleagues were taken away.
The protest led to the closure of all offices at the federal secretariat while the protesters also denied passage to Federal Minister for Information Shibli Faraz who was heading to his office.
The protesters threw stones at the police while the police resorted to firing teargas shells to disperse them besides taking scores of them into custody. They were later taken to the Secretariat police station.
A heavy contingent of Rangers arrived at the scene to keep the government employees from marching towards the Parliament House. Later, the protesters were also stopped from taking their march towards the PM Office.
It is worth mentioning here that the federal cabinet, in its meeting held on Tuesday (Feb 9), chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, had endorsed a decision to increase the salaries of the federal government employees and directed the provinces to decide for themselves about the salaries of their employees.
The cabinet had ratified the decision of the finance ministry to increase the salaries of the federal government employees in the light of talks between the protesting employees and a government’s negotiating team, comprising Pervez Khattak and Sheikh Rashid.
Faraz had said that the prime minister had again asked about the matter and the three-member committee presented its report. The committee, he said, was “in constant touch with the employees and soon a workable formula” acceptable to both sides would be thrashed out.
He added that the federal government had the mandate to deal with the federal employees, while those, who had come from provinces and where the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) or its allies had formed government, would be requested to settle their issues there.