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November 20, 2016

Pensioners threaten to lock down Rawalpindi on Nov 24


November 20, 2016


The pensioners Municipal Corporation, District Council, Education Department, Health Department and several other departments have decided to lock down Rawalpindi city once again as their talks with city district government, Rawalpindi failed here on Saturday.

Last time, the city district government, Rawalpindi requested pensioners to cancel their protest demonstration because higher authorities will settle their matters within 10-days. But, this promise was not fulfilled by the city district government, Rawalpindi as they are yet to get pensions.

In an emergency meeting on Saturday the pensioners decided to close down Rawalpindi city on Thursday (November 24) in protest against non-payment of pensions for nine months.

Municipal Workers League (MWL) City District Government Chairman Changez Bhatti, President Haji Muhammad Farooq, Senior Vice-President Malik Muhammad Shafiq, and General Secretary Younas Gori told ‘The News’ that they cancelled their protest demonstration on the surety of city district government, Rawalpindi. The higher authorities promised to settle down all issues within 10-days but pensioners are still deprived off pension even after 15 days, they said.

He said that they will close down all roads of Rawalpindi on Thursday. Helpless old pensioners are leading a hard life, as government has not paid them pension for nine months. The sanitation workers will never lift garbage and other waste material from city on Thursday, they decided.

“We will never cancel our protest at any cost now,” the representatives warned. They said that government has spent all money in fruitless works. They never know that poor dying with poverty day-to-day, the leaders said.

The representatives said that we will start our rally from Liaquat Bagh and block all roads particularly Murree Road. “If police tried to stop us we will never spare them because we would block city areas along with our families,” they warned.

The pensioners are continuously visiting District Accounts Office (DAO) but nobody is listening to them. The pensioner’s case has been pending with the District Accounts Office (DAO) for two years, they said. They have also alleged an official in District Accounts Office (DAO) is creating many problems for pensioners.

They said that they had met District Coordination Officer (DCO), Rawalpindi many times to resolve this issue but in vain. “So we have decided to come out on roads,” they said.

It is worth mentioning here that a large number of pensioners from the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation and the District Council are on hunger strike against non-payment of pensions. Protesters, including women, have set up a camp near Liaquat Bagh on Murree Road.

They said that they have not been paid their pensions for the last nine months, which has left them in virtual poverty. They said that no one was ready to listen to their grievances while they have gone from pillar-to-post to get their pending dues. They said that the officials were only paying lip services to solve their problems, while the high-ups have kept mum over the issue.

A large number of locals and area politicians from opposition parties also visited the camp to express solidarity with the pensioners, some of whom had turned up on wheelchairs or with walking aids. The protesting pensioners shouted slogans against the local authorities and the provincial government for their apathy and lack of responsiveness. The protest camp, which had organised by Municipal Workers’ League Rawal Town, was also abuzz with visits from labour union leaders and active employees of the concerned departments. The protesting pensioners announced that they will continue their hunger strike until they are paid all outstanding dues.

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