06 Nov 2017/Monday

Lives of thousands of Government employees working on contract basis in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) has become a nightmare for them because of the discriminatory policies of the Pak Government towards them. Though POK has a Prime Minister and a President, but is ruled and financed from Islamabad. The Prime Minister of Pakistan is the chairman and chief executive of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council that manages all affairs related to POK. This remote control leads to discriminatory policies and has caused deep anguish for the population of POK, who are now demanding separation from Pakistan.

Blaming Islamabad for its discriminatory policies against them, the contract workers, who are employed in health, education and other government sectors in PoK, have been demanding regular jobs. They are questioning the logic of Government for not being able to pay them vis-a- vis large amount of money being spent on seminars, conclaves and advertisement campaigns on the CPEC, which passes through the POK. India has already lodged a protest to Pakistan and Chinese Government about the legitimacy of the project.

“One of our colleagues who had not received salary for the past 8 months died because of illness. In July 2017, the government assured us to provide regular salaries as it was passed in the assembly. But, we have not received our salaries,” said Syda Sarvar Abbasi, a woman protester.

“In Pakistan’s all four provinces the contract workers are getting regular salaries, but here, we have not received our pay for the past 8 months. It has been several months that these employees have not received their salaries”, she added.

Shamim Bibi, another woman protester said, “Whenever we come to protest, they give us 3-4 months’ salary. We don’t want salaries. We demand regular jobs. We have been doing all sort of work. In July 2017, the Supreme Court of Pakistan declared that our jobs should be made regular and the Government will give our salaries. Now, we will go to Supreme Court of Pakistan, which will decide our fate”.

Residents of POK has protested heavily in past against the repressive policies of Pakistan and desired to merge with India.