SAHIWAL/LAHORE, May 14: Representatives of college and school teachers’ bodies participated in walks in Lahore and Chichawatni on Tuesday to protest humiliation of their two colleagues at the hands of as many returning officers during election duty.
The divisional representatives of Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association (PPLA), Ittehad-i-Asatiza Pakistan and Educators, School Teachers Association participated in the walk from Chichawatni Government College for Boys to local Press Club to show solidarity with the lecturer, Azhar Iqbal.
The protesters wearing black armbands and carrying protest banners strongly condemned the treatment meted out to the lecturer allegedly on the orders of NA-162 Returning Officer Pervaiz Ismail Joya. They also chanted slogans against what they called the RO’s misconduct.
“If the lecturer had done anything wrong he should have been charged. But handcuffing him and subjecting him to insult by asking the police to put him in the lockup for nine hours and calling him back in the court next morning and keeping him handcuffed for four hours is simply misuse of power”, Prof Abdul Salam Dolla, PPLA Sahiwal division president told the media persons at the Chichawatni Press Club.
The protesters demanded the chief justice of Pakistan should order an impartial inquiry into the incident.
Earlier, PPLA local unit called an emergency meeting of college staff where a condemnation resolution was passed.
Azhar Iqbal told his colleagues at the college staffroom, “I was insulted and humiliated for suggesting some corrective measures (to the RO’s staff).” The PPLA Sahiwal division body has decided to stage a demo in Sahiwal and present a protest resolution to the DRO against the RO.
Azhar Iqbal told media that he wanted justice not just for himself but for the whole teaching community.
PPLA divisional secretary general Abdul Shakoor Saleemi told Dawn it was not the insult of one college teacher but of whole teaching community of Punjab.
Sources said the association’s provincial president Dr Zahid took up the issue with higher education secretary. It is also learnt reliably that Chichawatni police has been asked to lodge an FIR against Azhar Iqbal for ‘misconduct’. However, when asked about such a move, Chichawatni DSP Mian Tanveer said, “I have no knowledge of this”.
Similarly, college teachers on Tuesday staged a protest demonstration in Lahore against returning officers of NA-162 (Chichawatni) and NA-119 (Lahore) for allegedly humiliating their colleagues who were on election duty.
In Lahore, NA-119 returning officer humiliated a Dyal Singh College teacher, Prof Nasir Siddiqui.
The teachers staged a protest march from Dyal Singh College to Lakshami Chowk under the PPLA banner and demanded action against the two ROs.
PPLA leaders Dr Zahid Sheikh, Dr Abdul Khaliq Nadeem and others demanded the government should take action against the accused ROs till Thursday (tomorrow) saying that otherwise the college teachers’ community would launch a country-wide protest on May 17.
The PPLA office-bearers will also stage a sit-in in front of the Lahore Press Club on Friday evening to protest ROs ‘highhandedness’.
They said over 17,000 male and female teachers had performed election duties in difficult circumstances. Theses teachers performed their duties despite facing humiliation at the hands of ECP officials and police, they added.