PESHAWAR: The protesting teachers of public sector universities have demanded removal of Adviser to Chief Minister on Higher Education Kamran Bangash, SSP Yasir Afridi and University of Peshawar Vice-chancellor Dr Mohammad Idrees from their posts.

The protesters also asked the provincial government to establish its own Higher Education Commission and revoke the notification regarding reduction in allowances of the employees of universities.

“We demand removal of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government spokesman Kamran Bangash as adviser to chief minister on higher education, SSP Yasir Afridi and University of Peshawar Vice-chancellor Dr Mohammad Idrees from their posts,” Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association provincial president Dr Shah Alam told participants of a sit-in at University of Peshawar here on Wednesday.

He said that peaceful protest against the government’s notification of cutting their allowances and non-existence of offices of HEC in the province would continue. Following passage of 18th Amendment, all the provinces were required to have their own HEC at provincial level, he said.

Dr Alam said that there would be no negotiation with the committee announced by the government till acceptance of their demands. He expressed concerns over baton-charge of the protesting teachers and announced that May 31 would be observed as black day in future.

“We ask the government to withdraw police cases against the leaders of the teachers. The government will be responsible for the consequences if cases are not withdrawn and our demands are not accepted,” he said.

There has been complete strike at University of Peshawar, Islamia College University, University of Engineering and Technology, Agricultural University Peshawar and other public sector varsities for the last three days. The strike would continue, said Dr Alam.

Dr Fazal Nasir, central vice president of Fapuasa, on the occasion said that officers at secretariat level were getting executive allowances but government wanted to stop the allowances to the employees of universities.

“Nobody can pressurise us to end our strike as it is our right to battle for due rights. There will be no looking back and the protest will continue till resolution of all our issues,” he said.

Dr Nasi said that violence against teachers was the worst example of barbarism and they would remain steadfast till acceptance of their demands.

He also demanded increase in education budget and reduction in admission and examination fee so that students could continue their education.

Meanwhile, ANP leader Sardar Hussain Babak also visited the striking teachers and pledged to support their demands.

He said that use of batons and tear gas against peaceful protest reflected the anti-education policies of the government. He added that his party would back the genuine demands of the universities’ employees.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2021

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