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November 8, 2019

College teachers continue protest on second day


November 8, 2019

College teachers of Sindh demanding promotions under the time-scale formula continued their protest in front of the Karachi Press Club (KPC) for the second day on Thursday.

A day earlier, the Sindh police had baton-charged and arrested over a dozen protesting college teachers when they tried to march on the Chief Minister House. Later, the protesting teachers agreed to clear the road for traffic but decided to continue their protest in front of the KPC. The protest was called by a pressure group of college teachers, Coordination Committee for Time Scale.

On Thursday, representatives of various college teachers’ organisations, including the Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association, Commerce College Teachers Association, Lecturers & Professors Forum Pakistan and others, visited the protest camp. They assured the protesters of their support.

Talking to The News, a protesting teacher, Prof Zamir Chandio, said the college teachers are deprived of their due right of promotion. The provincial government promotes a college teacher only for one single time during their entire service, he claimed.

Though college teachers are gazetted officers liable to benefit from the Sindh Services Act Promotion Rules that are equally applicable to the gazetted positions of all the departments running under the Sindh government, the protesters claim that the college teachers are deprived of promotions which other commissioned officers get.

Prof Chandio said although the Sindh government appointed college lecturers in BPS 17 through the Sindh Public Services Commission’s examination, a lecturer hardly got a single promotion after the appointment and a majority of them retired in the same grade of BPS 17 from where they had started their government service.

He pointed out that the provincial government had been promoting the college teachers under the time-scale with the formula of 1 per cent promotions of the BPS 20, 10 per cent promotions of the BPS 19, 29 per cent promotions of the BPS 18, and 60 per cent promotions of the BPS 17.

He, however, added that this formula had not been officially approved and it was highly ambiguous as well. The promotions again remain in the hands of bureaucracy which decides promotions cases through the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) and Board I, he said.

“We need a clear promotion formula, service structure, and allowances as per the law,” he said, adding that the present procedure for the college teachers’ promotions was very slow and the bureaucracy did not bother to convene regular and frequent meetings of DPCs and Board I meetings to grant promotions.

He said that this lethargic process of promotions resulted in no promotions or few promotions of college teachers, due to which the current system of promotions was unacceptable to the teachers.

He, however, mentioned that the provincial government had in 2010 agreed with college teachers to grant promotions to them through a new time-scale formula. In this regard, a summary was moved to the competent authority but the decision is yet to be notified.

Explaining the Sindh government’s discriminatory attitude towards the college teachers, Prof Chandio stated that the provincial government granted time scale promotions to 64,000 employees of the irrigation department and 24,000 employees of the health department. More than 100,000 primary and secondary school teachers were also promoted, he said.

Prof Anwar Mansoor, who is leading the protesting teachers, said he would announce their plan of action late on Thursday night. He explained that the protest camp would continue until the government met their demands. No government official visited the protest camp of college teachers on Thursday.

Protest camp visited

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA and former Karachi president of the party Khurrum Sher Zaman condemned the police brutality against the protesters on Wednesday as he visited the protest camp on Thursday.

Zaman met teachers at the protest camp and expressed solidarity with them. He told the protesters that he would raise their issue at every forum, including the provincial assembly.

The PTI MPA criticised Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for turning a blind eye to the tactics employed by the Sindh police against the teachers.

“Bilawal Zardari loves to label Prime Minister Imran Khan and PTI-government as fascists but ignores the fascism of his own government in Sindh when it comes to handling any kind of protest, be it from nurses, teachers, university students or college lecturers and professors.”

The PS-110 MPA urged Bilawal to stop lecturing the PTI on democracy, human rights and fascism and pay more attention to the poor state of affairs in Sindh, where his party has been ruling for 11 consecutive years.

“Instead of fanning the flames of hatred against Prime Minister Imran Khan on top of Fazlur Rehman’s container at H9 Islamabad, Bilawal Zardari should resolve the issues of protesting college professors and lecturers in Karachi as soon as possible.”

Zaman vowed that he and the PTI would continue supporting the college teachers in their legitimate demand for the implementation of time-scale-based promotions promised to them by the Sindh government in 2010.