Protesting teachers: Clash averted as acting education secretary intervenes

Mukhtar Soomro assures SPLA of taking their demands to the CM.

Our Correspondent April 25, 2016

KARACHI: Another clash between teachers demanding their rights and the police was averted on Monday after the acting education secretary intervened, promising the Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) of taking their demands to the chief minister (CM).

On March 30 this year, protesting teachers were brutally thrashed by police after they began a march to CM House to get their grievances heard. The teachers' body has welcomed the appointment of Mukhtar Hussian Soomro as the acting education secretary after the official accepted their demands.

The association had called its general body meeting at DJ Science College to protest against education secretary Fazlullah Pechuho and senior minister for education, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, on Monday April 25.

The meeting was called to resolve the ongoing issues of teacher's promotions, implementation of four-tier formula, reflection of posts in budget books and up-gradation of colleges. College teachers of grades 17, 18, 19 and 20 gathered at the venue and chanted slogans against the secretary and additional secretary Rehan Baloch for being 'corrupt' and not fulfilling their 'lawful' demands.

In light of the last protest which turned ugly, the acting secretary education called a meeting with SPLA representatives to listen to their concerns over a committee formed by Pechuho following the last protest.

A five-member team headed by SPLA's Karachi division chief, Ferozuddin Ahmed Siddiqui, met Soomro and shared their concerns.

"He listened to our demands and also agreed that all the points presented by us are lawful," Siddiqui told The Express Tribune. He also informed that the acting secretary has asked for 15 days so he can work out a plan and will present the demands to Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah for approval. He added that Soomro has assured the association that he will pursue their case with the CM even when Pechuho returns from his trip abroad.

The teachers had planned to go to CM House to protest after their meeting on Monday but they have called off their plans and decided to wait for 15 days.

A police contingent with water cannons was present at the venue to disperse the teachers in case they decided to protest at the CM House.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2016.