QUETTA: Thousands of provincial government employees held a sit-in here on Monday on a call of the Balochistan Employees and Workers Grand Alliance to demand pay increase.
The protesting employees were demanding a 25 per cent increase in their salary as announced by the federal government recently for its employees. The Balochistan government has not increased salaries of its employees despite an unprecedented price hike.
The sit-in affected normal life in the provincial capital as the employees gathered at Abdul Sattar Edhi Chowk causing traffic jam on the roads leading to Governor House and Chief Minister House.
The government employees, who reached Quetta from other districts of the province, joined the sit-in.
The protesters had announced plans to stage the sit-in in the Red Zone, but the district administration sealed the roads with the help of heavy trucks.
A heavy contingent of law-enforcement agencies was deployed to avoid any untoward situation.
The official work remained suspended in all district and divisional headquarters and civil secretariat. The protesters did not allow even vehicles of provincial secretaries to enter the civil secretariat.
The majority of the government-run schools were closed as teachers also joined the protest.
Even roads leading to civil hospital were blocked. Out-Patient Departments of government hospitals remained closed.
Commuters, especially students, faced great difficulty to reach their educational institutions.
A spokesman for the Balochistan Employees and Workers Grand Alliance said that the sit-in would continue till acceptance of their demand. “Provincial government should issue a notification about acceptance of our demand, because we do not believe in its assurances,” he said.
Meanwhile, Balochistan government’s spokesman Liaquat Shahwani termed the protest unnecessary because the employees had already been assured that the issue of salary would be resolved. “The government did not refuse to increase the allowances of employees,” he added.
Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2021