Pakistan: Government employees’ pen-down strike enters fourth day

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Islamabad [Pakistan], October 14: The pen-down strike in Punjab government departments entered the fourth day on Friday as the employees refused to resume work till their demands were met.

On the call of the joint alliance of government employees, teachers, and revenue officials under the platform of the All Government Employees Grand Alliance (AGEGA), schools and government offices remained closed to press the caretaker Punjab government to withdraw the decision on changes to the leave encashment and pension rules

As per AGEGA office-bearers, the government had stopped the leave encashment of employees, brought an amendment to the pension rules and announced to hand over public schools to non-governmental organisations.

The directorate of the education department on Murree Road remained closed and all employees gathered outside the offices after observing a pend-down strike in their respective offices.

The Lahore police on Thursday launched a crackdown and arrested more than 230 protesters of AGEGA Punjab, many of them teachers, who were holding a sit-in outside the Civil Secretariat against the proposed privatisation of public schools, amendments to pension regulations and end of leave encashment, Dawn reported.

The alliance launched the protest campaign on Tuesday and blocked the Lower Mall for traffic. The protest turned into a sit-in after the government turned a deaf ear to the protesters’ demands.

A total of 34 organisations representing the employees from various Punjab government departments, including health, education and higher education, along with members of the All Pakistan Clerks Association (Apca), were participating in the sit-in. Lahore police and district administration launched a crackdown on the protesters, including teachers, on Thursday morning and arrested 91 of them.

The protest’s organisers dispersed after the police action.

As per Dawn, it’s worth noting that some women who were also a part of the protest were allegedly subjected to baton charge and were arrested. Pictures and videos circulating on social media showed police launching baton charges at the protestors. The policemen could also be seen torturing the students who reached there to show solidarity with their teachers.

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