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September 29, 2016

UoP teachers’ class boycott enters third day

September 29, 2016

Protest being staged against model statues

PESHAWAR: The strike and class boycott of teaching fraternity of University of Peshawar (UoP) under the aegis of Peshawar University Teachers Associations (PUTA) on Wednesday continued on third consecutive day against the model statues drafted by the Higher Education Department and to press the government to accept their demands.

However, the government remained unmoved forcing the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA) to announce support to the strike of university teachers and join their class boycott from Monday next.

There have been no classes in the nearly 50 academic departments and seven constituent colleges of the University of Peshawar for the last three days, causing a waste of the time of the students.

Majority of the students have vacated the hostels and left for the homes as they were not sure about the resumption of the classes during the current week.

The PUTA has arranged a protest camp outside the Teachers Community Centre, which was visited by a large number of teaching faculty members and representatives of other communities on Wednesday like the previous two days.

Office-bearers of PUTA including its president Dr Jamil Chitrali, general secretary Dr Mohammad Iqbal and others remained present in the camp.

The teachers were unanimous to repeat their three demands and declared that they won’t call off their strike until their acceptance.

The demands included immediate suspension of Additional Secretary of Higher Education Department Khalid Khan and initiation of inquiry against him for issuance of an ‘illegal’ letter to the universities regarding model statutes.

They demanded immediate notification of the statutes committee in line with the Universities Act and teachers should be given optimum representation in the committee.

According to PUTA president Dr Jamil Ahmad Chitrali, the letter issued by additional secretary to the University of Peshawar stated that the draft statutes prepared long before the amendment made on August 11, 2016 should be considered as the model statutes and directed the universities to implement the same through bodies before October 11, 2016.

He said that the document was prepared by Dr Khalid Khan, whom he referred to as the most incompetent ex-cadre officer in higher education, if given preference over the existing statutes which are accumulation of 66 years of University of Peshawar legislations, it would be ridiculous and unacceptable at any cost. “It will halt the university affairs any way if not resisted,” he said.

Meanwhile, the FAPUASA rejected the model statutes and termed it as a blatant attack on the autonomy of the universities, which would never be accepted.

In a statement, FAPUASA provincial president Dr Abdul Shakoor said that framing the statutes was the responsibility of the statutory bodies of the universities i.e. Syndicate and Senate.

He asked the chancellor to take notice of the issue and resolve it before it could spread to other universities in the province. He opposed the ‘unnecessary interference’ by the Higher Education Department in the affairs of the universities.

He asked the government to accept their ‘legitimate demands’, or else they would start a similar strike across the province from October 3.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led provincial government on the other hand remained unaware of the problems being faced by teachers. No body from the provincial government could approach the protesting teachers.

Some of the teachers opined that the ruling party was busy staging sit-ins and Raiwind march and they were least bothered to look into the miseries of the people.