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Strike at AIOU Academic activities at a standstill

June 26, 2012

ISLAMABAD, June 25: A strike by the employees of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has brought academic and administrative activities in the institution to a standstill.

According to sources, around 400 employees of the university have gone on a strike against the attitude of Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nazir A. Sangi, demanding his immediate transfer.On the other hand, the university management is allegedly threatening the employees due to which negotiations between the tow sides could not reach any conclusion on Monday.

As a result, preparation of results, admissions, deposit of fees, issuance of mark sheets and other activities have been stopped and studies of almost 5,000 students badly affected.

While the employees headed by Sajid Mehmood Janjua were chanting slogans against the VC near the administration block on Monday, Professor Shafiqur Rehman reached there and started negotiations with them. He was trying to convince them that all the issues should be resolved through negotiations.

But in the meantime, Mr Janjua received a phone call from an anonymous person on his cellphone who claimed to be from an intelligence agency and threatened him. After this, the employees restarted their protest.

It may be mentioned that the AIOU employees have been demanding reinstatement of 27 of their colleagues whose services were terminated during the last two years.

Mr Janjua told Dawn that the VC recently transferred clerk Bilawal Leghari (who has over 25 years service in Islamabad) to Umarkot in Sindh. It was not possible for the clerk to leave the city so on June 18 his wife and children reached the VC office to request him to withdraw the transfer orders. However, he added, on the directives of the VC the security guards tortured the woman and her children.“When the employees protested against this, the VC got a case registered with the Industrial Area police against nine persons. “Now we are demanding that the VC should be transferred and a non-controversial person be appointed in his place,” said Mr Janjua.

Manzoor Ahmed, a former student of the AIOU, said he had been trying to get his degree but due to the strike the officials concerned were not resolving the issue.

Spokesman for the university Qasim Haider said a committee headed by Prof Dr Syed Abdul Siraj, the chairman of mass communication department, was holding talks with the employees and hopefully the issue would be resolved within two or three days.