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Police use tear gas, batons to break protest in Peshawar

Police use tear gas, batons to break protest in Peshawar

PESHAWAR: Police used tear gas and batons and fired into the air to disperse the protesting employees of various government departments and universities who blocked Peshawar’s main Khyber Road for several hours causing massive traffic jams.

The employees of government departments and universities took to the road at 11:30am to mark their protest against the government for not awarding them one-step upgradation. The road blockade continued till 3:00pm.

The provincial government had allowed one-step upgradation to employees of different cadres from grade-1 to 15 a few months ago. Since then, the leftover government employees have been protesting on different forums in favour of their single demand to also upgrade their scales.

The protesters gathered under the Mufti Mehmud Flyover and then moved towards the building of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly to stage a sit-in protest there. They were holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans in favour of their upgradation and against the government for not considering their case. They also chanted slogans against the government.

At one point the protesters tried to move towards the Chief Minister’s House, but police restricted them to the main gate of the assembly building. The police later resorted to firing in the air and tear gas shelling when they realised that protesters were not opening the road.

The police also diverted traffic to Shami Road from Khyber Road, but it didn’t lessen the miseries of motorists and commuters because of the great rush resulting from the four-hour blockade. Long queues of vehicles were seen on the main and link roads of the city because of the blockade of the central road.

People were also seen marching on foot towards their destinations. However, the elderly citizens, women and children have to face severe problems because of the worst traffic jam.

One of the residents whose car was stuck in the rush said that the sit-in culture was introduced by PTI and now its government had been facing a similar situation in its own backyard. Of late, the sit-in protests by different government employees and other people have become very common on the Khyber Road in front of the assembly building, resulting in frequent traffic jams in the city.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2015

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