DMG Versus PCS: 80 PCS (provincial service officers) Arrested from Civil Secretariat Lahore (Pictures Gallery):
LAHORE (Friday, March 18, 2011): Police on Friday arrested over 80 Provincial Management Service Association (PMSA) officials, including its office bearers, who had gathered to protest in front of the Civil Secretariat. They were protesting the arrest of two section officers on the Secretariat premises on the orders of the additional chief secretary.
Those arrested on Friday included the Association’s office bearers and four female section officers. The women were released an hour later.
A heavy police contingent was present when the arrests took place.
The Civil Secretariat also witnessed the second strike in its history since the inception of Pakistan. (The first was observed on September 16, 1991 when the Punjab Civil Secretariat Employees Association locked the premises to press their demands.)
Two section officers, Rana Ziaullah and Imran Sial, were arrested on Friday by the police for distributing pamphlets about the strike called by the PMSA for March 21. The additional chief secretary had ordered the deputy superintendent of police security to arrest the men.
As news of the arrests spread, over 700 officials gathered in front of the chief secretary’s office. The arrested men were detained for two hours.
Addressing the protesters, PMS president Rai Manzoor Nasir, who was later arrested, demanded registration of cases against the additional chief secretary and the DSP district. The protesters chanted slogans against the District Management Group (DMG) officers, calling their posting in the provincial administration illegal and demanding their repatriation.
Nasir said the chief minister had constituted a committee last year to address the grievances of PMS officers. The committee had held 102 meetings but there was no progress, he said. He announced that from Saturday the PMS and Secretariat Employees Association would observe strike till the removal of all DMG officers from the province. After about two hours, the protesters dispersed on Nasir’s direction. Meanwhile, the administration had locked all the Secretariat gates.
The police then arrested over 80 officials and took them to various police stations. A source at the Secretariat said show cause notices had been issued to the officials and that they had been suspended from service.
Capital City Police Officer, Muhammad Aslam Tareen, said they were arrested under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Police can detain the men for 24 hours without a court order. Cases would be registered against the arrested men after receiving an application from chief secretary’s office accusing them of interference in official work. Those arrested would be produced before a magistrate on Saturday (today).
Senior Special Judicial Magistrate Dr Noor Muhammad said the detained officers included some special judicial magistrates who may not be arrested without the permission of the chief justice/sessions judge because they are at the disposal of the Lahore High Court. Further, he said, the DCO and the commissioner could not order arrests under Section 154 because in the Local Government Ordinance these powers were vested in sessions judges. He said all the arrests were illegal. Khawaja Zahid Abbas deputy superintendent of police at Islamapura police stations said that an FIR had been registered against these officials.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2011.