Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed is under fire for making an insensitive statement regarding the use of tear gas against the government employees who were protesting at D-Chowk, Islamabad, last week for better wages.
In a comment on the demonstration, while addressing a ceremony in Islamabad, Rasheed said that the government gave a 25 per cent pay raise to the protesters and used some “tear gas” as well because it was “necessary”.
“We have already tested the teargas during the protest of government employees last week in Islamabad. The test was necessary as these teargas shells had not been used for a long time,” he said in a warning to the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
Last week, one policeman was killed and multiple injuries were reported after the protest organised by the government employees in Red Zone turned violent. The government had used tear gas and baton-charge to disperse the protesters.
The remarks were criticised by the opposition leaders, civil society, and journalists who termed them “cruel” and “insensitive”.
Former Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair said that a statement like this “would mean immediate firing of the minister”. However, the current government is “shameless” so the minister will retain his portfolio.
A Twitter user said that the statement by the minister was “quite shameful”.
Senior journalist Murtaza Solangi pointed out that “many people got injured during the exercise and a cop died too”.
The current government “keeps stooping lower and lower”, commented activist Tooba Syed.
The interior of minister of Pakistan says that it was important to use tear gas on the protesting employees, wrote another journalist.
Another Twitter user called the statement of the minister “criminal”.