LAHORE: Police in Lahore on Tuesday engaged in a scuffle with blind protesters, thwarting their attempt to enter an ongoing Punjab Assembly session to record a protest, DawnNews reported.
The protesters had been staging a sit-in since yesterday on the stairs of the Punjab Assembly to remind the provincial government of its promise to ensure their quota in government jobs and regularisation of their service.
President PTI Lahore region Mehmood-ur-Rasheed is seen accompanying the protesters in their sit-in. -DawnNews screengrab
According to an earlier report, the protesters had refused to end their sit-in citing the government’s response to their demands as “cold”.
“We will not end our protest till the acceptance of our demands – regularisation of services and implementation of two per cent job quota,” Muhammad Adnan, one of the blind protesters had told Dawn.
The post-graduation student had further added: “Exactly three months back, the Punjab government had promised us to regularise the services of some 50 or so visually impaired persons in different departments, including the special education, when police manhandled us during the protest. And today again the Punjab government is giving us a false hope through another promise, which we are not ready to accept this time.”
Earlier this morning, Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada had assured the protesters that he will convey their concerns to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
However, even after several hours had gone by, no progress in this regard could be seen.
Devoid of patience, the protesters attempted to enter the ongoing session at the Punjab Assembly but they encountered baton-charging police officials who broke into a scuffle with the protesters.
The blind protesters struck the policemen with their white canes when they resisted their entry.
Later, the demonstrators disengaged themselves from the scuffle and resumed their sit-in on the stairs of the assembly.
A similar instance of violence between Lahore police and blind protesters took place in December last year. Blind protesters were badly beaten by baton-wielding police as they staged a rally to advocate for their rights in view of World Disability Day.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif taking notice of the scuffle between blind protesters and police ordered that their demands be met on an urgent basis.
During his address in a special session organised to address the needs of the blind protests, the CM said that the protesters were like his children.
He said that the protesters should experience no pain and they should be furnished food and drinks.
He further claimed that the promises made to the Pakistan Association of Blind are being executed sincerely.
He also ordered a committee comprising ministers, concerned members of assembly and officials be formed to address the protesters’ concerns.
Courtesy by Dawn.com