Pakistan News

Police arrest protesting ETPB employees

Police arrest protesting ETPB employees

LAHORE: Dozens of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) employees protested on Thursday at the board’s decision to suspend their services and issuing them notices. They chanted slogans against the ETPB chairman and the PML-N for, what they said, victimising them for being recruited during the PPP regime.

They reportedly entered senior officers’ offices, including of ETPB Chairman Siddiqul Farooq. The chairman, the protesters alleged, aimed his pistol at them. However, Mr Farooq rejected the allegations.

“While the employees were protesting, I was there in the court of ETPB chairman,” advocate Yameen Raza, counsel for the sacked employees, told Dawn.

“I saw Mr Farooq raising his pistol and aiming it at the protesters.”

However, the ETPB chief said: “Though I have a licensed arm, I didn’t aim it at the protesters.

“Actually, I was busy in court work when a group of aggrieved employees forcibly entered my office and tried to ransack it. Since they didn’t listen to me, I called police which arrested 10 protesters,” he explained.

He said the ETPB had constituted a scrutiny committee on the orders of the Lahore High Court to check documents and other particulars of the officials, who were recruited unlawfully by his predecessor Syed Asif Hashmi. After the initiation of verification, the employees approached the high court that directed them to appear before the committee. The committee found discrepancies in the particulars of many employees. The administration suspended 15 employees from service and issued them show cause notices. Now, they should submit their reply instead of protesting.

He alleged Mr Hashmi and ETPB secretary Junaid Ahmad were instigating the employees to protest after he had moved a references of corruption against them with the National Accountability Bureau.

Advocate Raza said the employees were peaceful in the office of the ETPB chairman. “We have managed bail of the employees and have also approached the police for a case against the chairman for harassing the protesters and brandishing his gun at them,” he added.

An official said the ETPB administration was targeting them on political grounds.

“Those recruited in grade 14 to 16 by the former chairman are being sacked by the incumbent chairman,” he said, adding that ETPB’s public relations officer was also suspended from services for similar reasons.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2015

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