Several students and teachers of Cholistan Community Schools staged a demonstration in front of the commissioner’s office on Wednesday to protest an impending shut down of 75 community schools under the Parha Likha Cholistan project.
The demonstration began at 9 in the morning. The students and teachers set up a mock school in front of the office.
On May 25, Cholistan Development Authority Deputy Director Muhammad Qamar Zaman announced that the project would end in March 2014. With these schools shut down, more than 5,000 children will be out of school, he said.
The teachers at the mock school taught classes till 1:30 pm. A police squad led by Sub Inspector Sajjad Shah from the Civil Lines arrived then and told the children and their teachers to wind up the camp. The protesters were threatened with ‘police action’ if they did not leave immediately.
Later in the day, MPA Haseena Naz and Shabaab Mili’s district president Syed Kashif Ejaz visited the camp and condemned the behaviour of the police. They said peaceful protest was a democratic right.
Jamaat-i-Islami Ameer Syed Wasim Akhtar said that the project should not end. “We cannot let the children’s future be compromised. We will raise our voice against the decision at every forum.”
He said the government should rather expand the project and the teachers at these schools should be given the same status as other primary school teachers.
He requested Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to take immediate notice of the matter.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2013.
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