Pakistan News

Protesting employees of Workers Welfare Board arrested

Protesting employees of Workers Welfare Board arrested

PESHAWAR: The 20- day long strike and protest by the employees of Workers Welfare Board took a new turn on Tuesday when six of the employees including their key leaders were arrested by the district administration under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance for a period of one month.

The employees have started pen-down strike since Aug 19 under the aegis of Employees Union of Workers Welfare Board for the acceptance of their demands including regularisation of services of the contract employees, revoking illegal appointments of certain employees and stopping the provincial government from interfering in the affairs of the board.

The office-bearers of the workers union alleged that despite ban imposed by the federal government on any appointments in the Workers Welfare Board (WWB), the present secretary of the board was making appointments on the behest of a high-up of the provincial government.

The arrested persons include a deputy director, Mohammad Shoaib Khan, an assistant director, Zulqarnain, the chairman of All Pakistan Employees Union of Workers Welfare Board, Aurangzeb Khan, provincial president of the association, Ayaz Khan, its general secretary, Anwarul Haq, and its chief patron, Nawaz Khan.

The deputy commissioner of Peshawar, Riaz Mehsud, told Dawn that the said six persons were arrested under section 3 of the MPO as they had locked down the office of their secretary for the last three weeks.

He said that they were approached by the administration after the protesting employees had refused to allow other employees to work.

The official said that the employees had also a scheduled meeting with the chief minister on Wednesday. He added that if the administration concerned requested the district administration they might release the six persons prior to completion of their detention period.

The protesting employees were taken into custody from the office of WWB in Hayatabad, where they had set up a protest camp. They were first shifted to Hayatabad police station and then sent to prison.

The protesting employees told Dawn that an inhabitant of Nowshera, who was serving as a gardener at a private ghee mills, was appointed as member of the board. They alleged that another person whose services as an instructor in scale-14 were terminated was re-appointed as assistant director in the board.

They said that despite issuance of orders by the Peshawar High Court restraining Secretary Naimatullah Ghandapur from performing all administrative work, he continued to perform his duties.

Meanwhile, a bench of Peshawar High Court on Tuesday issued contempt of court notices to the secretary of WWB, Naimatullah Ghandapur, and the provincial secretary labour over an application filed by the deputy director, Mohammad Shoaib, and an assistant director, Shahid Gul Wazir.

The bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Irshad Qaiser directed the two officials to file replies as to why they had not complied with an earlier order of the court wherein the court had stayed their transfer to other posts.

The bench has also sought reply from the chairman of WWB, Islamabad, asking him to explain as to why the salaries of the two applicants, which had been frozen, were not released so far.

The applicants had filed a writ petition in which they had challenged their transfers by the secretary of WWB. Both of them claimed that they were transferred to the schools functioning under the board, which was a different cadre from the one in which they had been functioning.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2015

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