As protests spread over salary hike, Pak’s Balochistan cut off from other areas

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As protests spread over salary hike, Pak’s Balochistan cut off from other areas

Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan has been cut off from other parts of the country due to the ongoing demonstrations by government employees demanding salary hikes. Dawn reported that hundreds of vehicles, including trucks and passenger coaches, were stuck on Monday on various roads linking Balochistan with Sindh and Punjab.

“We were compelled to close the whole of Balochistan today. We have been in touch with the whole of Balochistan since morning. The talks continued till midnight. Many issues were discussed with us. After 12 o’clock, the government tried to spoil the talks by taking a U-turn,” said the leaders of government employees’ unions on Monday. After a weeklong protest by government employees demanding an increase in their salaries, no headway was achieved last week in negotiations between government representatives and leaders of the protesting employees.

The leaders of the employees’ grand alliance had given the government 24 hours deadline on Saturday for acceptance of their demands and threatened to block all highways in Balochistan if the demands were not met, reported Dawn. “We will block all national highways linking Balochistan with the rest of the country, if the provincial government fails to issue a notification about 25 per cent increase in our salaries and meet our other demands,” Abdul Salam, secretarygeneral of the Government Employees and Workers Alliance had said.

The government employees have refused to call off their protest until the official notification is issued for a salary hike. Earlier, The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Saturday came out in support of protesting government employees in Pakistan’s Balochistan province as they continue to hold their sit-in following failed negotiation between the government and their representatives over the issue of salary hike.

Last week, the provincial government in Balochistan imposed Section 144 in Quetta district for two weeks to ban all public gatherings after a sit-in protest call was given by the Teachers‘ Association. The order came amid the call for the protest given by the Teachers Association in Quetta over the issue of salary. On Sunday, a large number of teachers had reached Quetta to participate in the protest. (ANI)

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