It is not just India which is seeing movements and protests by the working people of the country at the moment. On Wednesday, Islamabad, capital city of Pakistan observed massive protests by workers.
But the way the protests were handled by the Imran Khan’s government was not really different from how Modi is welcoming the farmers in Delhi through Iron Nails and Barbed Wires. On Wednesday Islamabad turned into a virtual war-zone. The administration fired so many tear gas at people that the entire sites got filled by smoke and fumes.
A video has now went viral in which one can see nothing due to an absolute blanket of smoke everywhere, but can still hear people being lathi charged. The police had brutally beat up the protestors.
The protestors were trying to enter into the prohibited ‘Red Zone’ of Islamabad. The police had blocked the Srinagar Highway which is needed and is used to enter inside the city, due to which there was a jam of hours long. According to the newspaper Dawn there hasn’t been such a violent repression of protestors in Islamabad before. Newspaper has that according to its sources these protests were due to negligency by Imran Khan to wages of the people, for which they then lost patience resulting in such massive protests in the capital city.
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A committee existed prior to these protests, with Imran Khan as part of it too, whose function was to review the situation of wages of the people. This committee had warned the Prime Minister that he should urgently look for solutions, otherwise the consequences could be dangerous.
But Imran Khan chose negligence. After that, the Pakistan Government – infamous for using military and repression – has now ordered police to not just shoot tear gas at the workers demanding fair wages, but has also tried to lathicharge and drag them. The police also arrested several workers who had assembled in front of the Pakistani Secretariat.
These protests in Islamabad happened at the Secretariat Block, Cabinet Block, Constitution Avenue as well as several other places. The employees also protested in large numbers in front of the National Press Club. The ones who have been posted to Baluchistan and Punjab were also a part of these protests. The employees then began to march towards the Parliament, after which they received tear gas and lathi charge.
Imran Khan associated these protests by staff workers as possible threats to national security. The Minister of Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz has said to public later that the Prime Minister is concerned about the security of the Red Zone and the protests. He also said that the PM has directed the relevant ministries to look into the issues of employees.
This Article was originally published in Workers’ Unity and has been translated by Ananya Kumar.