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October 23, 2018

USC employees try to march on Parliament House


October 23, 2018

Islamabad : In order to resist the purported government moved of closing down Utility Stores Corporation(USC), the employees of the corporation accompanied by their families tried to march towards the Parliament House, but were stopped by Islamabad Police on Monday. The USC employees however, staged a sit-in at D-Chowk where they have erected tents in a move to pressurise the government to change its plan of closure of USC terming it as their economic murder.

Large contingent of Islamabad Police was present on the occasion and the sit-in was continuing till the last reports came in.

On the other hand around 6,000 Utility Stores remained closed throughout the country including Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Monday.

A large number of USC employees (males and females) throughout the country gathered in federal capital, Islamabad to protest against the likely closure of the department. The protesters marched towards D-Chowk, where they were stopped by the well-equipped Islamabad Police force from proceeding forward. The angry protesters tried to approach Parliament House where they wanted to stage ‘dharna’ but police stopped them from doing so.

The police officials installed barbed wires all around to block protesters to proceed towards Parliament House. The protesters raised full throated slogans against government for not resolving their issues.

Muttahida Majlis-e-Ammal (MMA) Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman had also assured USC workers of his full support during the sit-in. He has assured USC workers of joining them during the sit-in at D-Chowk.

The Utility Stores Corporation (USC), the country’s biggest state-run retail chain, urged the government to settle Rs27.6 billion worth of its subsidy claims pending for the last seven years, which is creating financial crunch for the company. The USC department is near to close in this regard.

All Pakistan Utility Stores Corporation Union Senior Vice President Malik Muhammad Ameer told ‘The News’ that they will remain at D-Chowk till the acceptance of their demands. “We are installing tents (camps) here at D-Chowk, Islamabad to prolong our ‘dharna’ till acceptance of our demands,” he said. He also said that nobody from the government side visited them to resolve the issue. We are continuously trying to go towards Parliament House to stage ‘dharna’ there but we are not allowed to do so,” he claimed.

Security has been deployed all around D-Chowk to keep the situation under control. Earlier in August, the government ordered the Utility Stores Corporation to halt all purchases until further notice, leaving as many as 14,000 employees in the lurch.

The Utility Stores Corporation (USC) of Pakistan is a state-owned enterprise that operates chain stores all over the country which provide basic commodities to the general public at prices lower than the open market due to government subsidies.

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