Peshawarites suffer worst gridlock as protesting teachers block road

Published January 5, 2021
Teachers of government schools stage a sit-in on Khyber Road, Peshawar, on Monday. — White Star
Teachers of government schools stage a sit-in on Khyber Road, Peshawar, on Monday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: Hundreds of teachers of government schools on Monday blocked one of the city’s main thoroughfares and plunged the provincial capital into the worst gridlock.

The protesting teachers gathered on Khyber Road and blocked it to traffic to press the government to upgrade their pay scales. The blockade of Khyber Road, in the heart of the city, led to the worst traffic clogging on all adjoining arteries.

The teachers, who had come from across the province, blocked the road as a protest against the government for not upgrading their basic pay scale from 16 to 17.

Education secretary agrees to consider protesters’ upgradation demand

Traffic was diverted from Khyber Road to other roads of the city including Khyber Bazaar and Shami Road that led to huge gridlock in those areas. Motorists were forced to spend hours in their vehicles amid the gridlock as traffic police personnel haplessly tried to clear the roads.

Long queues of cars and public transport vehicles were seen on main roads while many people were forced to walk on foot to reach their destinations. Huge contingents of riot police were also deployed at the venue to thwart any untoward incident.

The protestors were also carrying prayer mats and offered prayers on the road.

“Usually I reach my office within 20 minutes but on Monday it took one and a half hours as all roads leading to the city and Saddar area were chocked,” Fawadullah, a motorist, told Dawn.

Fawadullah, whose office is located in Saddar, said that police were helpless to manage the traffic as there was no way out with them. When he saw the road was blocked by the teachers, he tried to use Shami Road but it was not possible for him to go through as all the vehicles were stuck in the unprecedented traffic jam.

Finally, he said, he diverted his car to Warsak Road where traffic was moving at a snail’s pace and he reached his destination after a lot of struggle.

Earlier in the morning, hundreds of secondary schoolteachers (SST) serving in BPS-16, gathered from across the province at Government Higher Secondary School No.1 Peshawar City and took out a procession from there.

They were holding banners and placards inscribe with slogans in favour of their demands. They were also chanting slogans against the education department for not paying heed to their demands.

The protesters reached Khyber Road in front of Judicial Complex after marching on different roads. They staged a sit-in on Khyber Road.

The speakers among the protesting teachers came down hard on the provincial government for not up grading their basic pay scale. They said that struggle for their upgradation continued for the last many years but in vain.

They said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly had also unanimously passed a resolution in 2015, asking the government to upgrade their scale.

The speakers said that Abbottabad bench of Peshawar High Court had also directed the government to place the issue before the cabinet for necessary action.

The teachers ended their protest at 8pm after holding a meeting with the high ups of elementary and secondary education department. In the meeting, the education department agreed in principle to consider their demand.

The meeting was chaired by Education Secretary Nadeem Aslam Chudhry. After the meeting, he directed to the director of education to submit a workable solution of the issue to the education department within two weeks.

Published in Dawn, Jannuary 5th, 2021

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