The Capital City Turns into a War Zone as Police Clash with Government Employees

The federal capital of the country has recently turned into a war zone. On Wednesday, government employees, who were protesting for a raise in pay, clashed with police officials. This was because the protesters were trying to enter a restricted area, known as the Red Zone. This is where military and government buildings are located. 

The protests were organized in different areas of the city. This included outside the Secretariat Block, the Cabinet Block, as well as the Constitution Avenue. The main entrance door, which leads to the Cabinet Block, was also broken down by the demonstrators. 

Just a while earlier, the government had given its approval, in principle, for a 24% increase in the salaries for grades 1 through 16. However, federal employees have made it clear that they will not settle for anything less than a 40% rise in pay. They have explicitly stated that they also want there to be an increase in the salaries paid to provincial employees. 

The Srinagar Highway, which happens to be one of the main arteries of the city, was blocked by the Islamabad police. Containers were used to restrict the movement of those protesting. But, the move caused a huge traffic jam as people struggled to get home from work. 

A heavy contingent of law enforcement officials also tear-gassed numerous government employees. This was because the protestors were attempting to stage a sit-in in the vicinity of the Parliament House. Dozens of protesters, as well as the leaders, were arrested and taken in by the police. 

Reports of the event also recounted that demonstrators pelted police officials with stones when the arrests were being made. 

Moreover, a group of protesting employees was also said to have intercepted the vehicle of Senator Shibli Faraz, the Minister for Information, right as it was making its way into the office of the information ministry. This particular group is believed to be from the Cabinet Division, who demanded that all arrested leaders be immediately released. 

On Wednesday, government employees demanding a raise in their pay for the past few months had made an announcement about launching a forceful protest. They decided to join hands with employees belonging to the provincial government soon after they brought government affairs to a halt. 

On Tuesday night, law enforcement officials carried out raids at the homes of central officer-bearers belonging to organizations of government employees. Consequently, they were taken into custody. 

Earlier on, the employees of the Federal Directorate of Education were reported to have blocked the way to the main Srinagar Highway. This resulted in a gridlock on the two tracks that lead to the highway. In addition, the traffic in the rest of the capital was also affected. 

Due to the strike, government affairs in all divisions, departments, and ministries was brought to a standstill. Employees, who belonged to different ministries, had all refused to set foot in the office. This resulted in a temporary closure of all relevant government offices.