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Govt staff in Pakistan protest in opposition to pension reforms

Swat [Pakistan], April 7 (ANI): The government employees organised a rally in Pakistan’s Swat to lodge their protest against the newly-introduced pension reforms, Dawn reported.

The rally was held on the call of the All Government Employees Grand Alliance. The protesters said that the 35 per cent deduction from the pension in the name of reforms was not acceptable to them.

The protesters gathered at Mulababa school and marched towards Swat Press Club. They chanted slogans in favour of their demands.

They said that the government had recently introduced pension reforms that were not acceptable to them. They said the 35 per cent deduction pension of government employees was an injustice. They added that the decision was not acceptable to government employees, Dawn reported.

The speakers said that the provincial government must pay all the arrears of conveyance allowance to employees in lump sums.

The elders of Swat and Shangla districts have said that trees on privately owned lands are cut with the government’s permission, but some elements have launched propaganda against them on social media, Dawn reported.

Led by Ajmal Khan, Fazal Kamal, Fazal Raziq, Zafar Ali, Hazrat Nabi, and Wali Khan from both districts, the elders told journalists in Swat Press Club that according to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wood Lot Policy, forest owners were legally allowed to cut few trees on their lands.

“The government plants trees on our lands for which we have to wait for 40 years. We also take care and look after these trees and whenever the height of a tree reaches 22 inches, it is our legal right to cut and sell it to earn a livelihood,” they said, adding that they could only cut the trees after the approval of the patwari and forest officer, Dawn reported.

“We have provided land to the forest department and it is our right to get royalty, but now we have learnt that the government is taking away this royalty from us. If the government wants to take the royalty from us then it should also remove the trees from our lands too,” they said. (ANI)