Muzaffarabad: Employees of the MNCH (Mother, Neonatal, and Child Health) program in Azad Kashmir have announced a protest and march from Muzaffarabad to Islamabad on October 11th, following their ongoing sit-in outside the Assembly Gate since October 9th. This decision comes as part of the 18th Constitutional Amendment in Pakistan, which mandates the transition of all MNCH program employees, including those in Azad Kashmir, onto regular budgets.
The employees, represented by Raja Sajid Azim, General Secretary Raja Aziz Saeed, Afshan Rashid, Sakina Aziz, Lubna, Samia Kazmi, and Adnan Mughal, voiced their concerns during a press conference at the Central Press Club. They highlighted that the program’s objectives were not met, and approval for these positions did not come from the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir.
Since July 1, 2023, all MNCH program employees have been left without jobs, with no permission to attend work, while they remain committed to their duties. The employees have repeatedly requested the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir to show compassion and allocate these positions normally, as has been done for MNCH employees in other provinces of Pakistan.
The employees emphasized that their lives are in disarray due to the delayed payment of last year’s salaries, which were paid 11 months later, leading to financial hardships and the inability to pay their children’s school fees. They pleaded with the government to consider their plight, as unemployment and inflation have severely impacted their lives. They vowed to continue their sit-in until their demands are met, even if it comes at a great personal cost.