End of beginning: Provincial officials get bail, vow to vanquish DMG

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End of beginning: PMS officials get bail, vow to vanquish DMG:

LAHORE: Provincial Management Service officers’ Association (PMSA) on Saturday vowed to continue their protest till the removal of all District Management Group (DMG) officers from the province.

PMSA president Rai Manzoor Nasir was talking to the media after the release of 73 PCS officers on bail by a judicial magistrate.

The officers had been arrested from the Punjab Civil Secretariat on Friday during a protest against the DMG officers serving in the province.

Nasir said that the DMG officers serving in the province were holding their posts “illegally and in violation of the constitution”. He said that these officers enjoyed support of the political elite. The DMG officers, he said, were responsible for bringing the country to the brink of collapse.

Nasir said the chief secretary would not be able to sabotage their protest by getting them arrested or suspending them from service. “Such tactics would no longer hold us back,” he said.

PMSA general secretary Dr Shoaib Tariq Warriach said that by registering cases against them the government had made it obvious that it favoured the DMG officers.

Talking to The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity, a DMG officer rejected the PMSA claim that they were behind the arrests.

However, he said, the PCS officers could not be allowed to force closure of government offices. He said nine officials had been suspended and 39 served show cause notices after Friday’s protest.

He said the government had to assign additional charge in a number of cases to ensure that official business was not disrupted.

Another senior official, requesting anonymity, said that Chief Secretary Nasir Mehmood Khosa had taken Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif into confidence regarding the arrest of the PCS officers. He believed the PMSA protest in front of the chief secretary’s office had ended peacefully and the protestors would have dispersed had the chief secretary not called the police. He said the home secretary, Lahore commissioner and the district coordination officer were also taken on board before the arrests.

Earlier, Judicial Magistrate Rizwan Hanif Shaikh directed the officers to be freed on bail against surety bonds worth Rs500 each.

Earlier, he turned down the prosecutor’s request for a seven-day physical remand of the arrested officials. The prosecutor had sought the remand saying that the police had yet to arrest other officials protesting on Friday.

Lahore Bar Association president, Advocate Shehzad Hussan Shaikh, appear8ing on behalf of the detained officials submitted urt that some of the Sections in the FIR were not applicable to the case. These, he said, included sections 29-A and 25-D of the Telegraph Act, 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order and 147 and 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code. He said the remaining sections (506,353,186 and 431 of the PPC) were bailable.

Shaikh said some of those arrested included judicial officers and deputy secretaries.

A large number of PCS officials (from BS-1 to BS-19) were present at the court premises when the arrested officials were presented for the hearing.

Meanwhile, thin attendance was witnessed at the Civil Secretariat and the Chief Minister’s Secretariat as the Anjman-i-Patwarian Punjab and the All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA) announced their decision to join the PMSA in its strike against the DMG officers.

(Published in “Express Tribune” on March 20, 2011)

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