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KARACHI, May 8: The Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) on Wednesday strongly condemned the attitude of returning officers (ROs) and the education department for pressurising teachers over election duties and urged the government to end this discriminatory attitude towards the academic staff.

SPLA President Asif Zaidi expressed these views while speaking at a press conference at the DJ Science College here. Karachi SPLA President Prof Iftikhar Azmi, Hyderabad SPLA President Yaqoob Chandio and others were also present.

He informed reporters that the pressure from ROs and the education department claimed the life of Prof Hasnain Akhtar Gilani, a professor at the DJ Science College, on Wednesday.

Prof Gilani suffered a heart attack during a meeting with regard to election duties on Sunday and died on Wednesday morning in hospital.

The SPLA alleged that the federal and provincial education departments and the ROs were responsible for Prof Gilani’s death.

An SPLA delegation also met the education secretary and lodged its protest over what it described as discriminatory attitude towards teachers.

They urged the federal and provincial governments to lower the burden of duties on teachers; otherwise, they said, they would be compelled to boycott election duties.

He said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the provincial government were not providing any facility to women teachers performing duties as assistant presiding officers during elections.

Prof Azmi said that the election was the continuation of the democratic process and it should carry on but under the current law and order situation it was difficult for teachers to discharge their duties when even election candidates were afraid of holding rallies in Karachi.

He said that around 20 teachers received show-cause notices in connection with election duties and this act was tantamount to threatening teachers.

He urged the government to provide security to teachers performing election duties.

Mr Chandio said that teachers should be treated with respect and honour.

He said mismanagement and alack of coordination between the ECP and other institutions was in evidence.

The SPLA called upon the government to ensure transport facility for teachers during election duties, proper security, life insurance of polling staff, exemption of indisposed teachers from duty on medical ground and withdrawal of the show-cause notices till May 9 (Thursday). Otherwise, the SPLA boycott election-related work, he added.—PPI