KARACHI: More than 300 teachers turned up outside the Sindh Assembly building on Monday to protest for the release of their salaries, which they have not received since 2012.
The teachers chose to protest on the day the provincial budget was being announced in order to gain officials' attention.
The controversial recruitments were made in 2012 when Pir Mazharul Haq was the minister for the education and literacy department, before the general elections of 2013. In 2013, after the elections and formation of new cabinet, then education secretary Fazlullah Pechuho declared those appointments illegal. The status of 3,622 teachers in Karachi and 222 teachers in Ghotki has been in limbo since then.
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The teachers bemoaned the fact that they are performing their duties without getting any pay in return and are left with no chance but to do part-time jobs in the evening.
"We were appointed legally after completing the due procedure," decried Ghazala Moin, who teaches art at Government Girls Lower Secondary Railway Feeder School. "I applied for the job when it was advertised. We all received our admit cards, appeared for the entry test and medical test and then got the offer letter," she said, adding that after that they have not received their salaries.
The teachers have been protesting since then. When Nisar Ahmed Khuhro was the minister for education and literacy he ordered an investigation in which the 3,622 teachers from Karachi were found to be appointed on merit. "We have all the receipts, from admit cards to the scrutiny pay orders," Moin shared.
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"The teachers who are awaiting remuneration were hired on another cadre. We were not hired as primary or junior school teachers but as teachers of Sindhi language, teachers of oriental languages such as Arabic, art teachers, physical training teachers, workshop instructors and non-teaching staff," shared a Sindhi language teacher at Jacob Lines Govt Boys Secondary School No 1, Abu Bakar.
He said that though they are not getting salaries, they have been doing census and general election duties and have received payments for that. "The reason for the salary issue is that Haq allowed excessive appointments in the department just before the general elections, which later resulted in a conflict with secretary Pechuho and the appointed teachers suffered due to that," Abu Bakar added.
The Sindhi language teacher also shared that the issue of salaries in the appointments that were made all over Sindh were resolved one by one in Nawabshah, Larkana, Hyderabad and other areas but not in Karachi and Ghotki.
Teachers ready to go on war path
After protesting in front of the Sindh Assembly building since 11am, a team of teachers' representatives went for dialogue with School Education Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili. "Last time we had a meeting with additional secretary Zakir Shah but then his degree was found to be fake and our matter remained hanging in the balance," said Yar Muhammad, who teaches Arabic in SM Lyari Chakiwara Higher Secondary School.
The talks between the teachers and the secretary turned out to be fruitful. The teachers cleared the premises of the assembly when the secretary assured them that the issue will be resolved within two days.
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