Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association’s President Dr Abdul Sattar Malik, General Secretary Dr Ahtisham Ali, President Punjab University Dr Mumtaz Anwar, General Secretary Punjab University Dr Amjad Abbas Magsi, President GC University Lahore Dr Atif Shahbaz, UET Lahore President Dr Amjad Hussain, UVAS Lahore President Dr Anila Durrani and ASA representatives of various universities raised their voices against the anti-education policies of the Punjab government and announced a protest movement.
In a crowded press conference held at Lahore Press Club, besides the representative organizations of university teachers and employees, acting president of Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association Dr Zahid Awan, and different Provincial organisations were also present.
Criticizing the poor performance of Punjab Chief Minister, Minister for Higher Education and Finance Department, Dr Abdul Sattar Malik, President, FAPUASA Punjab, said that university teachers and employees, like other sections of the society, have been severely affected by inflation. They are being treated like stepchildren because improving the quality of higher education is not one of the government’s priorities. Inflation has peaked in the last three years, but the government is punishing university teachers and staff for the crime of creating the best minds in society.
Dr Ahtisham Ali, General Secretary, FAPUASA Punjab, said that all other provinces of Pakistan and even the government of Azad Kashmir have released funds for special allowance for university teachers and employees but the Punjab government has deprived the universities of this allowance. He demanded that the notification issued by the Finance Department be immediately re-notified and the Chief Minister Punjab should announce the release of funds for giving this allowance to the university teachers and employees without any grade discrimination, he further added that the PhD allowance in other provinces has reached Rs 25,000 but the Punjab government is still limiting it to Rs 10,000. He said that the thinking of the government regarding higher education can be gauged from the fact that M.Phil and PhD teachers in the college cadre are being deprived of special allowance.
Furthermore, Dr Abdul Sattar Malik, announced the protest strategy of FAPUASA Punjab, the provincial president said that if the government did not accept our demands for special allowance by August 10, university teachers and employees across Punjab would start protesting from the FAPUASA platform. In which the educational and teaching process will be completely boycotted. Universities will be locked, protests will be held in all major cities, with teachers and employees as well as other civil society organizations and activists will take part he said that if the government did not show restraint despite all this, university teachers and employees would stage a sit-in protest in Lahore for their rights, which would continue till the approval of their demands.
At the press conference, Dr Zahid Awan, the Acting President of PEPLA Punjab, representative of APCA, Pakistan Libraries Association, Pakistan University Officers Association assured FAPUASA Punjab of their full support and said that they will provide full support to FAPUASA Punjab leadership at every step in this struggle.
Finally, Provincial President FAPUSA Dr Abdul Sattar Malik and General Secretary Dr Ahtisham Ali thanked all the journalists, teachers and non-teaching staff associations from all over Punjab for participating in this successful press conference.