LAHORE - Dozens of job-seeking blind persons Monday staged a demonstration outside the Punjab Assembly to remind the chief minister of his pinky promise.

In December at a meeting with a group of the blind, Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif pledged to get their problems fixed.

More than three dozen visually-impaired persons from various parts of the province staged a protest outside Punjab Assembly to press their demands.

Speaking on the occasion, the protesters said last time, they were promised job and regularisation but to no avail. Although the chief minister ordered the departments concerned for giving them job immediately, they (authorities) turned a blind eye, they added.

Waving canes and chanting slogans they held a march from Lahore Press Club to Punjab Assembly and staged protest sit-in the Punjab Assembly after four rounds of talks with officials failed.

Police had manhandled the disabled when they attempted to move on to The Mall to make way to the Governor House in a previous protest, which then had hit the banner lines in media, the police and the other security persons appeared highly careful not to take any action which repeated the past. However, the security persons checked their way to Assembly premises without resorting to violent action. Hundreds of police persons by checking their way to the assembly created a scene which moved the Acting Speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani to call them in and hold talks with them.

The blinds met Gorchani and Punjab government spokesman Zaeem Hussain Qadri who assured them to provide job as the process was underway. The White Canes had a point that when thousands of nurses could be regularised with a single stroke of pen why the blind job seekers who are much less in number than the paramedics. They were told by Qadri that legislation is being carried out to increase their job quota in the public department from two to three per cent and they would be certainly on job by March 31. But they would not accept and called for immediate implementation of the promises and the CM order. When no result came out of the meeting, the blind decided to stage a sit-in then and there but they were persuaded to come out of the Committee Room of the Assembly. Later, the Assembly doors were closed when the tried to enter the premises. They sat down on the Assembly steps where further round of talks with them took place but no breakthrough came out. The sit-in was continued till filing of their report.

Meanwhile, a bill to increase job quota from two to three per cent was tabled before the House which the Chair referred to the Standing Committee for report within two months.

Meanwhile, Minister for Social Welfare Syed Haroon Ahmed Sultan Bukhari chaired a meeting for allocating quota in government jobs and providing facilities to the disabled particularly blinds. Minister for Special Education Asif Saeed Manhais, Chairperson Child Protection Bureau Saba Sadiq and senior officers attended the meeting.

Haroon Sultan Bukhari said that all departments were bound to advertise quota of government jobs. He said that process of recruitment of special persons in government departments and district governments has been started.