PESHAWAR: All Primary Teachers Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Sunday demanded of the government to extend Shuhada package to the families of two teachers who died while performing duty in the May 30 local government elections.

The demand was made during a condolence reference held for the deceased teachers. It was attended by a large number of teachers and office-bearers of the association.

The association president, Malik Khalid Khan, also announced boycott of election duty in future. “Primary teachers won’t perform election duties, be it general elections, local bodies or by-polls. Our association holds the district administration and Elementary and Secondary Education Department responsible for the on-duty death of our two colleagues,” he said while speaking at the reference. Relatives of the deceased teachers were also present on the occasion.

A female primary school teacher, Shabana Shaheen, was killed when a stray bullet hit her on head during festive firing on the polling day. She was returning home after performing duty as assistant presiding officer at a polling station in area near Kohat Road, Peshawar. The female teacher had to hire an auto-rickshaw to reach home as she was not provided conveyance by the relevant authorities.

The two had died while on election duty on May 30

In another such incident, a senior English teacher, Khalid Khan, died of cardiac arrest due to suffocation at a polling station on May 30. “At polling stations our teachers, including females, were manhandled and tortured by activists of certain political parties,” he said, adding that teachers were not given conveyance facility.

Mr Khalid regretted that nobody in the education department bothered to acknowledge the services of teachers. “Instead, the administration of certain districts has prepared a list of 352 teachers seeking legal action against them for negligence of election duty,” he said.

The teachers’ leader said that female teachers were deputed in far-flung areas without consulting the association. He also came down hard on the federal government for announcing a paltry 7.5 per cent raise for the government employees, and reminded the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government that teachers would not accept salary raise of less than 20 per cent.

Mr Khalid said that the provincial government should increase the education budget besides giving one-step promotion to teachers. He also said that about 150,000 teachers had been contributing Rs100 a month to the Education Employees Foundation, but no teacher knew about use of these funds.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2015

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