–Govt plays waiting game with teachers
–PPLA GS says they’re following Imran Khan’s ‘dharna model’
–Mehmoodur Rasheed says ministers not picking up his phone
LAHORE: As the teachers from across Punjab continued their sit-in at Faisal Chowk on the second consecutive day, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ministers remained absent from the scene and did not even try to negotiate with the protesters, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association (PPLA) have been protesting outside the Punjab Assembly for the past two days. They demand a five-tier service structure, pay protection and scale upgradation on the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) model.
PPLA General Secretary Shafiq Butt said that in the past, Punjab Education Minister Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz told them that the government was willing to meet their demands but they had to undergo a compulsory training for scale upgradation. He said that the teachers who had undergone the training were not promoted either. He, therefore, rejected the government’s claims of extending cooperation to the teachers and said that they are trying to deflect the situation.
“I have been teaching and studying philosophy for the past 25 years. Who will train me?” he asked.
Responding to a question regarding the difficulty being faced by the commuters because of their protest, he said that the protesters were only following in the footsteps of Imran Khan. “Imran’s dharna continued for 126 days, we are ready to sit here for 160 days,” he said, adding that the government’s indifferent attitude has forced them to take this step.
Other protesters said that they would not end their sit-in over verbal commitments. “The government must negotiate with us and issue a proper notification for the acceptance of our demands and the process of implementing them,” they said.
Pakistan Today made repeated attempts to reach out to government ministers but none of them was responsive. Minister for School Education Murad Raas was out of the country. Education Minister Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz, Information Minister Syed Samsam Ali Bukhari and Secretary Education Ahad Khan Cheema did not pick up the phone. Pakistan Today then contacted PTI Punjab President Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, who initially asked for 10 minutes to contact the relevant ministers. Later, he called back to inform that they were not picking his phone either.
Image credits: Zubair Mehfooz