Wildlife Department officials continue hunger strike in Chitral.
Protesters say they haven’t received salaries for last nine months
By Gul Hamaad Farooqi
CHITRAL: The hunger strike camp of the Forest and Wildlife Department in Chitral continued for the sixth consecutive day on Saturday against non-payment of salaries for the last nine months.
The protesters who have set up a hunger strike camp at Booni Chowk in tehsil Mastuj said they are protecting the forests and wildlife for the last three years, but their salaries have been withheld for the last nine months and they have come to know that their services have been suspended.
Muhammad Nabi, an affected employee, told this scribe that he is working with the Forest Department for the last two years and he has collected a lot of seeds, but he has not been paid for it. Another affectee, Syed Kausar Ali Shah said his children did not wear new clothes on Eid as he did not get his pending salaries of nine months. Shabbir Wali, another affectee at the hunger strike camp, said the employees are staging the hunger strike since Monday, but the department has not bothered to send anyone to them for negotiations.
Local sources said four employees at the hunger strike camp fainted on Friday after which they were taken to Booni Hospital.
Divisional Forest Officer Ijaz Ahmed said these employees were appointed last year. He said a forest officer monitored the work of these employees and raised objection of their performance in his report. He said the employees have not been suspended. He said an inquiry team has been formed to resolve the issue and salaries will be paid to only those employees who have done their job according to required standards.