Only a day before before Christmas, Islamabad’s sanitation workers, majority of them Christians, are hoping against hope to get their dues to celebrate Christmas and enjoy the holiday with their families in true religious spirit.
These workers have stopped collecting garbage in two sectors of Islamabad—G and I—over non-payment of dues for last three months.
Dozens of sanitation workers on Monday continued their protest outside the National Press Club and as a mark of their agony and desperation threw garbage on street to highlight the city managers’ indifference to their woes.
The recent tug-of-war between the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) over financial control of the funds has cost heavily to the city and its residents and bureaucracy seems to be denying these powers to city government.
Shahbaz Masih, a sanitary worker while talking to Pakistan Observer outside the press club said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan should intervene and get the issue resolved to ensure release of salaries to sanitary workers so they are able to celebrate Christmas.”
According to Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz, the collection of garbage has been stopped because the CDA has not released Rs70 million needed to pay the staff. However CDA’s claim is that the authority has cleared the dues of sanitation staff on a number of occasion and it is now the MCI’s responsibility.
Islamabad’s big and small slums predominantly inhabited by Christians give festive looks days ahead of Christmas as houses are lit with colourful lights, balloons, nativity images including Mother, Son, Santa, Shepherd and his sheep.