On Wednesday, the Islamabad police fired tear gas shells on the government employees protesting for a raise in their salaries. In addition to this, dozens of protesters including their leadership have been arrested. Around 2000 protesters have gathered in D-Chowk in front of the Parliament House. The protestors also blocked blocked the Constitution Avenue.
The protestors who had gathered before the Press Club have also moved to D-Chowk. Meanwhile, Islamabad police issued baton charge and continued shelling of tear gas at the protesting crowd despite the government’s readiness to listen to the government employees’ demands.
Police has also placed containers on the road, sealing the way to D-Chowk.
The government employees are protesting the income disparities between various federal government employees and have been demanding a 40% increase in their salaries.
Following the arrests, the government workers in the federal capital had announced they will march towards Parliament from the Islamabad Secretariat for their demands and the release of their leaders.
The police started firing tear gas on the government employees after they started to move towards the Parliament, after which the protestors retreated towards the secretariat. At one point in the protest, the protesters also encircled Federal Minister for Information Shibli Faraz. The protesters also closed the doors to the secretariat, which has caused the government machinery to pause.
Government employees over grade 17, who have also demanded an increase in salaries, have expressed support towards the protestors. The All Pakistan Clerks Association and government employees of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Punjab, and Sindh have expressed support for the protest.
The Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed has said that all legitimate demands of the protesters will be met.
Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed said that the government has no problem with issuing a written notification. “We can do it right now if they want,” he said.
He said that we agreed to increase the salaries of officers from grades 5 to 16 but now they are asking to increase salaries for Grade 22 officers as well. At the moment the government does not have the funds to do that, he said.
The protesters want a salary increase for employees in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. “We don’t have the power to authorise that because of the 18th Amendment,” said Sheikh Rasheed.
More to follow.