Employees’ alliance to protest school privatisation

Demand fair treatment & protection of rights; press for tangible action from govt

Qaiser Shirazi May 27, 2024


The All Government Employees Grand Alliance (AGEGA), along with teacher organisations and the All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA), has announced plans for a series of protests. They intend to stage a sit-in and siege of the Punjab Assembly on May 29 [tomorrow], opposing the proposed privatisation of 13,000 government schools to NGOs and demanding approval of their charter of demands.

Furthermore, they have scheduled a long march followed by a sit-in outside the Parliament House in the federal capital on June 6. Leaders of the government employees and teachers stress that they seek tangible actions, not mere promises.

Among their demands are the prevention of privatisation in public schools and national institutions, the abolition of the oppressive leave encashment laws, and a 200% increase in pay, service protection, allowances, and salaries. This announcement was made by AGEGA President Tahir Mehmood Raja, Chairman Mohammad Imran Qazi, General Secretary Raja Shahid Mehmood, Senior Vice President Raja Saadat Habib, Educators Association President Raja Basharat Iqbal, and others in an interview with The Express Tribune.

The leaders assert the unity of government employees across Pakistan and vow to defend their rights vigorously in the upcoming budget discussions. They express dissatisfaction with interim salary increases and demand substantial adjustments to offset inflation. Additionally, they oppose the sale of national institutions to foreign entities and plan a significant protest in front of the Punjab Assembly on May 29.

Further protests are planned at the Parliament House in Islamabad during the budget session. The alliance emphasises its non-political stance and clarifies that their struggle is solely for their demands, such as salary and pension increases. They condemn the government’s decision to eliminate 70,000 Class IV posts and advocate for new recruitments instead of eliminating vacant positions.

Amid rising inflation and social unrest, the alliance pledges to intensify their protests with daily demonstrations, pen-down strikes, and rallies in major cities until the budget session. They stress their commitment to peaceful protests and hold the government accountable for any escalation of force.

Caravans from various cities will converge on the Punjab Assembly early in the morning. Leading the protest sit-in will be Chaudhary Sarfaraz, Rana Liaquat, Malik Amjad, Mian Arshad, and Kashif Shehzad Chaudhary of the Joint Action Committee.

The committee expressed disappointment, citing broken promises from the chief minister who had previously assured them of no privatization and pledged to abolish the oppressive leave encashment law.

They argue that privatising government schools would be detrimental, leading to increased fees, paralysis in the admission system, and potentially 30 million out-of-school children by year-end. Concerns extend to plans to deploy matric pass teachers and develop commercial plazas on valuable school lands.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2024.


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