The university teaching community has called for an indefinite strike in universities of Sindh after fears of changes being made to faculty’s role in the administration of varsities following Dr Asim Hussain’s re-appointment as the Sindh Higher Education Commission (SHEC) chairperson.

The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) Sindh Chapter called the strike to be observed from today (January 31). In a statement, FAPUASA Central Secretary General Dr Shakeel Farooqi announced the strike and said that the best option for the Government of Sindh was to stick to the rules regarding the provincial higher education commission or Sindh would fall behind on this venue too, like several others in the country.

Dr Farooqi advised the Chief Minister to call FAPUASA-Sindh leadership and settle the issues with them before it was too late. He urged Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to take prompt action to save the higher education sector in Sindh, adding that the Government of Sindh had already wasted four years in spite of signing an agreement to withdraw the amendments in the Sindh Universities Act.

Dr Farooqi emphasised that in order to bring universities in Sindh on a track to progress, democratic values had to be nurtured on one hand and politics must be uprooted on the other. “Moreover, in the universities, their statutory bodies have to be allowed to work freely. It is critical to have an apolitical Chancellor’s office and the Chief Minister’s office by essence is not meant for this purpose,” he added.

FAPUASA central secretary general said the Government of Sindh did not have to worry about its role in governing the higher education institutions. He said they had an ample representation in the decision making statutory bodies of the universities, which had more than enough leverage in the decision making. “Any enhancement of this representation would throw the entire system out of balance,” he said.

Dr Farooqi added that the political role of the governor not only hampered the progress of universities but also jeopardised the tranquillity, security and smooth functioning of the university.

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