PESHAWAR: Peshawar University Teachers Association (PUTA) continued its strike on the fourth consecutive day on Thursday against the proposed model universities statues drafted by provincial higher education department.

The strike by teachers of University of Peshawar (UoP) has badly affected the academic activities and studies of students as there have been no classes in the nearly 50 departments and seven constituent colleges of the university for the last four days.

Due to extended strike, majority of the students vacated the hostels and left for homes as they were not sure about the resumption of the classes during the current week.

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

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The FAPUASA has rejected the model statutes and termed it a blatant attack on the autonomy of the universities, saying it will 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 -- syndicate and senate.

He urged the chancellor of the universities to take notice of the issue and resolve it immediately otherwise the protest would spread to other universities in the province.

Dr Shakoor demanded of the government to accept their demands or they would go on a similar strike across the province from October 3.

The protesting teachers said that the ruling party was busy in staging sit-ins and Raiwind march and was least bothered to look into the miseries of teachers and students.

PUTA has arranged a protest camp outside the Teachers Community Centre, which was visited by a large number of teaching faculty members, academicians, politicians and representatives of other communities.

ANP general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain also visited the protest camp and expressed sympathies with the teachers. He said that legislation of PTI government was limited only to files. He alleged that provincial government was passing legislation in haste without consulting the stakeholders.

The teachers said that they would not call off their strike until all their demands were accepted by the government.

Meanwhile, a delegation of FAPUASA called on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and apprised of the problems being faced by teachers. The delegation was led by FAPUASA president Prof Humayoon Khan.

Speaking on the occasion, the governor directed higher education department to resolve the issues of teachers. He also urged the teachers to call off their strike and restart academic activities.

Also, Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Higher Education Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani has taken notice of the teachers’ boycott and convened a meeting of vice-chancellors on October 3 to review Universities Amendment Act, 2016.

The meeting would be held at Civil Secretariat to review and discuss the grievances of some universities about the law. UoP Vice-chancellor Dr Rasool Jan, Benazir Bhutto Women University Vice-chancellor Razia Sultana, Islamia College University Vice-chancellor Dr Habeeb, University of Engineering and Technology Vice-chancellor Imtiaz Gillani and Agricultural University Vice-chancellor Zahoor Swati have been invited to attended the meeting.

Mr Ghanni also directed Dr Rasool Jan to ensure resumption of classes immediately, saying no one would be allowed to impede educational activities at higher education institutions.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2016