ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government will announce pay raises for government employees today, Thursday, after holding “successful” negotiations with representatives of employees, the interior minister said, a day after demonstrations turned violent and police fired tear gas at protesters.
Thousands of government employees are holding a rally in Islamabad to seek a pay raise, an issue the government has been trying to delay until June when the budget for the next financial year will be announced. The capital administration deployed riot police against the demonstrators and barricaded the entrance and exit of sensitive buildings, including the Parliament House and Secretariat Block.
The negotiations began on Wednesday evening after Islamabad police arrested dozens of protesting employees and fired tear gas shells to disperse them.
The government committee comprised the minister for interior Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad, defense minister Pervez Khattak and state minister for parliamentary affairs Ali Mohammad Khan, while government employees were represented by Rehman Bajwa, chairman of the All Government Employees Alliance. Representatives of provincial employees also attended the talks.
“Negotiations over salary increase successful,” interior minister Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad, said in a tweet on Thursday. “The official announcement will be made today (Thursday) at 2 p.m. The meeting decided to release all the arrested government employees.”
— Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (@ShkhRasheed) February 10, 2021
A large number of protesters gathered near the Secretariat Block on Thursday morning, waiting for the government’s announcement.
“Inflation has increased manifold in recent months while we are forced to continue our work diligently on the meager salaries,” Hasan Malik, a government employee, told Arab News, saying Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration had not increased the salaries of government employees in the last budget, as was the norm with previous governments.
“We want the government to increase our salaries by at least 40 percent in the upcoming budget,” he said.