(Originally posted at Daily Times)
By Faizan Ali Warraich
LAHORE: All Pakistan Clerk Association (APCA) Punjab members protested on Thursday at Dharampura Chowk and vowed to continue their protests until APCA’s ‘Charter of Demands’ was met by the government.
The protestors announced they would encircle the Civil Secretariat on April 23 and stage day and night protest in front of Chief Minster Office on May 7. A number of APCA’s members gathered around 11 am in morning at Dharampura Chowk voiced their demands which have not been heard before the government despite protesting repeatedly in last few months. The protestors came along with holding banners, placards inscribed with their demands and shouted slogans against government. Addressing to the participants Central Muhammad Afzal said that Punjab government should stop the drama in the name of negotiations and sincerely solve the problems of clerics having been facing a lot difficulties due to poor policies of Punjab government.
Talking to this scribe, he lamented government dual policy of distributing budget for making ‘development project’ but when workers, government employees and clerics which are the back-bone of bureaucracy, demanded to increase in their wages , government simply turned blind eyes towards our demands. Muhammad Afzal said that our demands are to increase wages which ought to increase by the government after every three years but despite being in our forth years government refused to listen on our demands. He said that clerics have been giving allowances including medical allowance one thousand rupees since the polices of 1975, much time has been passed, and even medicines prices rates have shouted high but no increase in the medial allowance.
He further said that similar case in ‘conveyance allowance’, he demanded to introduced 10,000 rupees indiscriminate allowance from pay scale 1 to grade 16 government employees. He said that government wanted employees ‘economic lynching’ by introducing 50 to 55 age limit for the employees, he asked government to increase age limit upto 65 which is currently 60. Central Chairman APCA briefed the participants of the protest that from 1975 we have been giving house rent or allowance on the ratio of 30 percent to 45 percent accordingly to the districts and pay scale, but could anyone tell us that in 2750 rupees or in 1800 rupees who would give us house for rent. Others speakers told that there were around 35 lakh employees of APCA which are ready for pen-down’ protest which led to the choke government affairs ‘some employees of cleric fraternity have not their promotion service structure, they be granted time scale after every five years’ they added. Due to protest Dharampura Chowk was blocked for several hours.