LAHORE - The blind persons’ protest outside Punjab Assembly entered second day Tuesday. They took to the streets for the implementation of allocated job quota in government departments.

Dozens of blinds staged sit-in at the main entrance of PA, causing ministers, MPAs, government officials and visitors to use back gate. Several rounds of talks led by provincial minister Haroon Sultan Bukhari with the blinds remained inconclusive.

In the evening, the representatives of the blinds also went to the Model Town residence of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif but reportedly the meeting could not take place and they had to return and resume protest that continued till filing of this report. Although many ministers assured them that their quota which had been raised to three per cent would be implemented as per promise, but blind persons demanded appointment letters of daily wage service given to many of their colleagues.

The protesting blind persons, most of whom had spent the previous night outside the Assembly compound, blocked The Mall in the morning when the Assembly session was about to begin. Raising slogans against the government, the blind persons complained that they had been assured by Punjab Government spokesman Zaeem Qadri that chief minister Shahbaz Sharif would himself meet them in the morning to give them fresh assurance about the acceptance of their demands.

However, they complained, they had just been told that the chief minister was not scheduled to see them and that they should accept the assurance by the Punjab government spokesman that their demands had been accepted and would be implemented within this month. The police guard outside Assembly premises initially tried to push the blind persons back in order to open the blocked The Mall but they did not budge.

Soon, the leaders of Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI) led by Dr Yasmin Rashed, Andleeb Abbas and others joined the blind persons and sat with them at the sit-in raising slogans against the government. They also provided food and other edibles to the protestors, while PTI workers kept blocking the road. Many blind persons lay down on the road to prevent event pedestrians crossing from the point, causing worst traffic jam on The Mall and adjoining roads throughout the day.

Later, opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur RAsheed also joined the protesters for some time and vowed to support the demands. “If the demands of the blind people were not accepted then PTI leaders including myself will stay here at the Punjab Assembly tonight,” said Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed.

He said the continued protests by all segments of the society against the government was a proof of rulers’ inefficiency and particularly the non-implementation of blind quota in government jobs was a slap at the claims of good governance.

According to a TV channel, the protesters  called of sit-in after the government re-assured them of fixing their problems.

 The fear of the blind persons was clearly telling on the security operatives of the Punjab Assembly as it took ‘extra-ordinary steps to meet extra-ordinary situation’ during and after session of the Assembly.

The White Cane wielders were not more than a few dozens but their protest for the job turned the Assembly premises into a bunker.  Interestingly, the blind spent most of the time at the Assembly premises after they had been holding a sit-in on the Assembly steps over the last night but all gates of the Assembly except one on the side of Duty Free Shop were closed.