KARACHI: No academic and administrative activities will take place on Wednesday (today) as universities across the province have decided to observe a strike.
Karachi University Teachers Society (Kuts) had protested against the non-payment of salaries and leave encashment to teachers of Karachi University (KU) along with nine other demands put before Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, who is also the chancellor of all the public universities. The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (Fapuasa) announced today's strike after it gave time to the government and university administrations in the beginning of August to address the teachers' woes. The universities in Sindh are fighting for their autonomy curtailed through the amendments done in the Sindh universities law, which was passed in 2013.
"All the public-sector universities in Sindh will go on strike on Wednesday and no classes will be held," said Kuts president and Fapuasa secretary-general Dr Shakeel Farooqi. He added that all the universities are on board and have mutually decided to call off the academic activities.
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The strike will be observed in all the major universities of Sindh, including KU, NED University of Engineering and Technology, University of Sindh, Jamshoro, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro, Liaquat University of Medical Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Sindh Agriculture University, Tando Jam, Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering, Science and Technology, Nawabshah, and Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur.
According to Fapuasa Sindh head Dr Mir Shahnawaz Talpur, teachers, officers and employees are not happy with the direct promotions and transfer cases that are taking place without being presented before the selection board. He said that all the associations demanded the Sindh government to take back all such transfers and promotions.
He added that teachers are also unhappy that universities were not given proper grants as promised by the government and attempts are being made to make the universities function on temporary grants. "We all have decided to fight against all these issues for the autonomy of the universities," said Talpur.
Criticising the retired officers appointed in the universities, Farooqi said that they are not just a burden on the university but also a hurdle in the progress of the institution. He also demanded that any appointment on any post in the university should be done through proper channels, which are the selection boards after advertising the posts.
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"The issue of the appointment of the finance director in KU is a result of the wrong decision of the Sindh government," he said, adding that they are expecting the new chief minister, Murad Ali Shah, to work with the teachers for the betterment of higher education in the province.
The association has also demanded equal facilities and bonuses for all the employees of all the universities. They also said that there is no need to delay the payments of leave encashment to the employees of KU if it has been paid to all other universities.
"For now we are going on strike but we will keep announcing our daily decisions," Farooqi told The Express Tribune, adding that they might take to the streets to protest and can also continue their strike. However, he said, they will keep fighting until the demands are met.
The Sindh Universities Officers Federation also joined hand with Fapuasa and Kuts and will be participating in the strike.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2016.
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