NPIW protesters end up with ‘red sores and eyes’ for entering ‘red zone’

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Demanding the Sindh government of regularising their services, the Tando Muhammad Khan-based contractual employees of National Programme for Improvement of Watercourses (NPIW) faced the wrath of the law enforcers on Monday as in a bid to register their protest with the provincial authorities they tried to enter the “red zone” and the police resorted to baton charge and teargas shelling to disperse the protesters.
After holding a demonstration at the Karachi Press Club, the NPIW employees started marching towards the Sindh Chief Minister’s House to stage a sit-in there.
Carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans, the protesters called upon Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to fulfil his pledges regarding regularisation of the contractual employees.
The protesters also held up portraits of President Asif Ali Zardari, slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
As the protesters walked towards the “red zone”, riot police from Artillery police station encountered them at the Din Muhammad Wafai Road and fired teargas shells at the rally.
The law enforcers also baton-charged the protesters, who ran back and took shelter outside the Karachi Press Club, where they shouted slogans against the police and government.
Talking with Pakistan Today, Shaiq Lakhero, one of the leaders of the demonstrators, said the protest is based on a single-point agenda of regularisation of the contractual workers in NPIW. “During the past seven years, the government has made scores of new recruitments sans regularising us,” he complained.
“Our chairman, Mir Waqar Talpur has also been arrested by the Artillery police,” Lakhero said.
Another protest leader, Rafique Leghari, said all provinces except Sindh have extended the regularisation facility to their NPIW colleagues.
As the protesters’ slogans in favour of staging a demonstration at the Chief Minister’s House gained momentum, Assistant Superintendent Police Usman Bajwa arrived at the scene to negotiate with the NPIW employees.
“Law does not permit the gathering of more than five people [in the red zone] so four of you may come with us to submit your memorandum [at the Chief Minister’s House] in a peaceful manner,” the police officer told the protesters, who looked positive to the offer.
Later, Bajwa accompanied Lakhero along with three colleagues to hold negotiations with the Sindh Agriculture Department additional secretary.
The NPIW employees, however, refused to talk with the additional secretary, saying they would only negotiate with a high profile figure, including President Zardari’s sister MNA Faryal Talpur, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Agriculture Minister Ali Nawaz Shah or the Agriculture secretary.
“They say none of these persons are available for talks,” Lakhero told Pakistan Today. “We have given them a 24-hour ultimatum to issue a notification for our regularisation or we would continue with our sit-in at the press club.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. Shame on authorities who neglect these engineers of N.P.I.W. who are demanding regularization after serving 07 years on continuous contract . As engineers are the most vulnerable for the nation but who cares that.
    Shame Shame

  2. We have been protesting at press club karachi for last 27 days but no one govt: official or any politician came to us yet those politicians who come to us thrice in singal day and pay condolence after five years in the fascinating election season but now they are blind deaf and dumb when we are infront of their eyes chanting for rights.but they dont forget that they have to come back soon for votes..shame shame shame

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