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July 20, 2019

Nurses finally end protest after Sindh govt caves in to their demands

Karachi

July 20, 2019

The Sindh government on Friday accepted the demands of the protesting nurses and notified a summary approved by the provincial finance department for upgrading the posts of the nursing cadre, thereby ending the protest that was being observed since July 4.

The nurses announced calling off their sit-in after Barrister Murtaza Wahab, the chief minister’s adviser on law and information, and Health Secretary Saeed Awan reached the Karachi Press Club and handed them the summary signed by the finance department.

“Fulfilling our promise, the Sindh government has issued the notification based on a four-tier formula, while the provincial cabinet has to finalise the other demands of the nurses,” said Wahab.

“Sindh is the only province where nurses and health care providers are being taken care of and are being given allowances along with the required perks and privileges. We demand that the remaining provinces follow our lead.”

Censuring the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) leaders and lawmakers for “inciting people for lawlessness and anarchy” in Sindh, the adviser asked the party to abstain from “inciting people and professionals for their vested interests”.

He said the PTI’s workers should protest against their federal government and their central leadership for the economic crisis, the price hike and the miseries of the ordinary citizens.

Wahab said the provincial government of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) believes in the fulfilment of its promises and has been very keen to solve the problems of the nurses from day one.

“Unfortunately, some elements tried to create differences between the nurses and the government to accomplish their ulterior motives, and it has been proven that the ‘dharna party’ can only spread anarchy in the country.”

The adviser said the country’s people can differentiate between the anarchists and those who serve the people. He said the PTI-led government has crushed the ordinary citizens of the country through its failed economic policies.

He advised the PTI to show some political ethics and norms to protest outside the Sindh Governor House against the devastating economic condition of the country. He said the nurses’ slogans in favour of the PPP are proof enough of the people’s love and affection for Benazir Bhutto.

The leader of the protesting nurses, Aijaz Kaleri, thanked the provincial government, the PPP and the health department for accepting their demands, saying that they were immediately ending their protest and that the nurses would rejoin their duties immediately.

“We are thankful to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Barrister Murtaza Wahab and the health secretary for accepting our long-lasting demands and issuing a notification in this regard.”

He hoped that the issues regarding the payment of health professional allowance as well as the other demands of the nurses would also be resolved before long.

CM House

On Thursday the anti-riot police had used water cannon and batons to disperse the nurses attempting to march on the CM House from the KPC to press the provincial government to accept their demands. Many of the protesters and a number of PTI MPAs and workers were also arrested.

The entire red zone turned into a battlefield, causing extreme vehicular traffic jams on Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road, II Chundrigar Road, Club Road and the adjoining roads and streets, after the protesters were thrashed by male and female police officials, who took dozens of nurses into custody and moved them to nearby police stations to prevent them from reaching the CM House.

The attempt to march on the CM House was made after the PTI’s male and female lawmakers reached the press club in the morning and reiterated their support for the protesters’ demands.

The law enforcers exercised restraint and tried to stop the nurses and the PTI lawmakers from moving their rally into the red zone. After the protesters reached Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road, they were subjected to batons and water cannon by the police, while many of them were arrested and taken to the nearby police stations. All the detained nurses, however, were released in the evening.

Unable to reach the CM House, the protesters held a sit-in at the PIDC roundabout and shouted slogans against the provincial government. They vowed to continue their struggle until their demands were accepted.

Wahab held talks with the protesters at the roundabout and assured them that CM Shah had issued orders for resolving their problems and accepting their demands.

“We are working on resolving your issues, as the Sindh health secretary has been asked to resolve your issues as soon as possible. A notification based on your demands will be issued within 24 hours,” Wahab told the nurses.

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