Lok Virsa ED violates IHC order, refuses to take employee back

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—National Institute of Folk and Traditional Art, Lok Virsa, Islamabad in its keenness to promote folk art and culture across the country tends to leave its employees behind who are running from pillars to post to get their due rights and register their voice at some forum. Five employees are suspended since April and three month extension in their suspension is made. They made the heinous crime of seeking honorarium which they had been receiving every year during the annual festival, a mega event of the Lok Virsa. However this year they were denied that and when they protested they were suspended. Another has been removed from the service since November 30 last on the pretext he was a daily wage employee. Interestingly, the management has refused to take him back even on the directives of the Islamabad High Court. The poor guy who had been working in Lok Virsa as Admin Assistant for five years was shown the door with only one office order saying “Your services are required no more.”
Muhammad Irshad who has a Masters degree in Education and was appointed Admin Assistant by the then Executive Director Lok Virsa Khalid Javed is now in deep trouble these days. He is a man with family and has a baby to feed. “Former ED after seeing my performance even issued me appreciation letter. Everything was going smoothly until one day the current ED came and replaced him,” said Irshad with tears in his eyes. I, who had submitted an application for regularization and was very hopeful that the application would be considered as I had worked for five years as admin assistant, was quite bewildered when on Nov 30, 2015, I was given an office order that my services were not required. My status was also changed from contract employee to daily wage employee, he said.
Irshad challenged the decision in the court and Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court on 23 February, 2016 directed the Lok Virsa management to send his case to the committee on regularization of employees. Meanwhile, the court ordered, Irshad might continue as employee of the Lok Virsa and get his salary and other benefits accordingly. However, neither salary was granted to him nor was he allowed to rejoin and since that day, Irshad is pursuing his case quietly and patiently. “I even pleaded my case in front of the chairman of the before Senate’s Standing Committee Kamil Ali Agha. Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid and ED Dr Fouzia Saeed were also present. However, ED could not give any justification of relieving me of service,” he said.

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