KARACHI: Members of civil society organisations on Saturday lambasted the police’s baton charge and use of water cannons against protesting health care workers on Friday.
They disapproved the police action against protesting doctors, nurses and paramedics while addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club.
On Friday, some protesting health care workers, who have been on strike as they demand resumption of the Covid-19 risk allowance and other perks, faced police baton charge and use of water cannons as they tried to march on the Sindh Chief Minister’s House to force the government to accept their demands.
The anti-riot police resorted to baton charge and used water cannons to disperse the protesting healthcare workers and detained many of them.
Hundreds of health care workers, including doctors, nurses and paramedics, have been boycotting their duties at public health facilities for last several days for resumption of the health risk allowance that was stopped by the Sindh health department, which is of the view that the Covid-19 is almost over.
Speaking at the press conference, founding member of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research Karamat Ali condemned the police action against the health workers.
He said that rights activists would keep raising concern for the working class of the country. Members of the civil society were not afraid of anyone and they would keep confronting those who failed to fulfil their responsibilities, he added.
He was of the view that if the civil society remained silent on such brutal actions, there would not be any democracy left in the country.
“If such autocracies continue to happen, injustice and brutality would be rife in society,” he remarked.
Another civil society member Farhat Parween said there should be no violence in protests. “Every citizen has a right to protest,” she said, adding that resorting to violence to disrupt protests was a shameful act.
Stating that there was no such thing as ‘red zone’, she asked whom the protesters would go to for the resolution of their issues if they could not record their protest with the chief minister. She commented that law enforcers did inhuman acts by dragging protesters, who also included women, on streets and holding them by their hairs. Those who ordered such action should be ashamed of themselves, Parween added.
She was of the view that rather increasing the salaries of the people, the Sindh government had reduced them and this was injustice. She said that the risk allowance must not be abolished.
Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Lady Health Worker’s Programme Union in a press statement also condemned the police brutality against the health workers. It demanded that the Sindh government immediately resume the health allowance.