File photo of Pakistan's Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed Photograph:( AFP )
The government employees were protesting as they demanded salary hike. Ahmed said that "real problem" was not the tear gas shelling but the pay raise that "amounts to billions of rupees in this time of inflation"
Pakistani interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed is facing a lot of criticism for his statement on "test" of tear gas on protesters. Last week, police in Islamabad fired 1000 tear gas shells on protesting government employees. Ahmed said that it was "necessary to test the tear gas as it had been unused for a long time" as per Pakistani news outlet Dawn. He has also been quoted as saying that "only a little was tested, not a lot"
The government employees were protesting as they demanded salary hike. Ahmed said that "real problem" was not the tear gas shelling but the pay raise that "amounts to billions of rupees in this time of inflation".
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed made these remarks as he addressed a ceremony in Rawalpindi.
His remarks have naturally have been received as being absolutely insensitive and he is receiving a lot of flak from opposition leaders and public alike.
"In any other country, a statement like this would mean immediate firing of the minister and an apology from the government," said PML-N leader Mohammad Zubair.
"To the fascist, douchebag interior minister Sheikh Rasheed, people suffocating to death is a joke," tweeted filmmaker Haroon Riaz
Earlier, the federal ministers, including Rasheed, have said the government will fulfil demands of the protestors. However, the protesters have reiterated that the government will have to issue a notification confirming the increase in their salaries. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz have backed the government employees protest.
In a tweet, Maryam had demanded the government to stop the "merciless torture" of the government employees."For God`s sake, stop this merciless torture...Do not make the innocent government employees suffer from tear gas, shelling and baton-charging. They are not enemies but poor Pakistanis who are asking for their rights," she added.
(With ANI inputs)