ISLAMABAD-Scores of protestors including Lady Health Workers (LHWs), doctors and employees of government departments on Wednesday reached federal capital and demanded financial and service relief from the government.

Hundreds of protestors, men women from working class majority working in government sector started reaching different protesting venues including National Press Club (NPC) and D-Chowk, but finally all gathered at the later famous point of protest which was blocked with the containers to stop protestors there.

Hundreds of LHWs sitting under open sky on roads were demanding increase in salaries and improved service structure, the young doctors demanded restoration of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PM&DC) and government employees demanded in-discriminatory increase in salaries during inflation.

Carrying banners and placards of their demands, the protestors held vocal sloganeering against sitting government policies alleging that it has failed in providing relief to common man and working class and forced it to come on roads.

The protestors also condemned the government for creating hurdles for the convoys of their companions on Srinagar Highway, which led to increase traffic mess and problems for the commuters.

Central President for LHWs Rukhsana Anwar talking to The Nation said that hundreds of LHWs from different provinces today gathered here for increase in salaries and improved service structure which they are lacking for decades.

She said that maximum take home income of a LHW is around 25000 and the one has to bear the commuting charges from the salary.

She said that LHWs are also part of the polio immunisation programme but government is not paying attention to resolve their longstanding financial miseries.

Rukhsana Anwar also said that despite of being the part of expanded healthcare infrastructure of the country the community lacks improved service structure.

“No government forum was ready to listen us and now hundreds of LHWs are on roads,” she said. Central president LHWs added that they will stay and prolong their protest until their demands are met.

Meanwhile, YDA doctors protesting against newly established Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) said that abolishing of PM&DC has affected the medical community already facing problems.

YDA head Dr. Aziz said that PMDC was regulating the college; however, PMC would not enjoy any authority of regulating the fee being charged by the private medical college.

He said that colleges will be free to set fee according to their wish which will reduce the chance of students with competitive marks but limited financial resources. 

The protestors, gathered under the banner of All Pakistan Employees, Pensioners and Labour Movement, marched from the Islamabad Press Club to D Chowk and condemned the austerity measures which have led to the shrinking of already meagre social services, increase in the price of essential commodities such as food items and utilities, privatisation of public entities, cuts to health and education budgets, and large-scale layoffs. 

People who converged upon the capital from all over the country included workers from Pakistan Steel Mill, Pakistan Railway, Civil Aviation employees, lady health workers, teachers, labour and trade unionists, and pensioners.  

The president of the Women Democratic Front, Ismat Shahjahan, welcomed this workers’ alliance, calling it a “historic coalition to push the rights and plight of the working class front and centre of the national debate. Each successive government takes loans from international institutions and then acts upon their neoliberal agendas causing greater misery to the public.