MANSEHRA: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Schools Officers Association on Monday called for an immediate withdrawal of “draconian” pension reforms and warned that if the demand wasn’t met, they would expand their protests next week.

“We [teachers] aren’t afraid of legal notices or punitive action over protests to claim rights and will widen our agitation to other parts of the province and beyond,” district president of the association Mohammad Aslam told reporters here.

He said pension reforms, which the last Pakistan Democratic Movement government introduced to claim the International Monetary Fund loans, threatened the post-retirement future of government employees.

Mr Aslam claimed that teachers were denied a major portion of gratuity and pensions through “so-called” reforms. He said an agitation had been launched against those reforms by the government.

The association president said the promotion of teachers of BPS-17 and onwards was held under the fourth-year upgradation formula in 2012 but it was later denied to them.

He criticised the government for ignoring protests by teachers and demanded an immediate end to pension reforms and resolution of their other issues.

“Our [association’s] provincial team is visiting Punjab and Islamabad these days to evolve a strategy in consultation with teacher leaders to widen agitation,” he said.

Also, Subject Specialists Association president Sajid Saleem demanded of the government to annul pension reforms, which, he insisted, is the only hope for employees to spend a decent living.

ACCIDENT CLAIMS LIFE: A girl was killed and her four relatives suffered critical injuries after a car they rode fell into a ravine in Sakhi Bala area of Darband tehsil here on Monday. The accident occurred as the driver lost control of the car negotiating a sharp turn on the way from Islamabad to Darband via Chapper Road.

The locals retrieved the injured from the gorge and shifted them to a nearby health centre, whose doctors declared Nosheen, 17, dead.

They referred the injured to the Ayub Medical Complex, Abbottabad, due to critical condition.

The residents said one of the injured arrived from Saudi Arabia and his family went to Islamabad airport to receive him.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2023

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