Strike disrupts trains schedule

RAWALPINDI, June 9: The Pakistan Railways Loco Shed workers on Thursday observed strike against the arrest of some railway employees by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on the charge of stealing four radiators, disrupting trains` schedule and creating problems for the passengers.

The Awami Express from Peshawar to Karachi left the station one-and-a-half hour late. The schedule of a number of other trains also affected due to the strike.

The passengers faced difficulty in entering the platform due to the protest. More than 200 railway workers gathered at Loco Shed and held a rally to Rawalpindi railway station, where they staged a sit-in on the railway tracks stopping the trains for more than an hour.

Railway Workers Union, Railways Mehnatkash Union, Railways Prem Union and Rail Mazdoor Ittehad said they would protect the `innocent` employees.

The protesters were carrying placards inscribed with their demands and chanting slogans against the alleged highhandedness of the FIA. They demanded that the arrested employees should be released forthwith.

The radiators were stolen in October 2010 and these employees have now been arrested only because they had reported the theft, said the union leaders.

The arrested employees were: Haq Nawaz, Malik Ashraf, Amanullah, Mohammad Mazamil, Mohammad Ashraf and Mohammad Nawaz.

Addressing the protesters, Railway Workers Union (open line) leader Aasim Sajjad said the arrest of `innocent` workers had created unrest among the employees.

The administration of Pakistan Railways, including Divisional Superintendent Tariq Khan, visited the place and assured the workers that necessary measures would be taken to get the employees release.

Upon this, the workers ended their protest.

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