Govt assurances mean nothing…


KARACHI – Even though Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has approved the summary for regularising Education Department employees, the employees of grades BPS-1 to BPS-4 have announced that they would continue protesting until a notification of regularisation is issued. The sacked contractual employees of lower grades continued protesting on Saturday outside the Karachi Press Club.
The demonstrators demanded that the government should release their arrested colleagues, including All Sindh Education Department Lower Staff Association (ASEDLSA) Central President Darya Khan Jamali, and threatened to go on a hunger strike from today (Sunday) if the authorities failed to meet their demands.
A two-member delegation of the provincial cabinet – Sindh Government Media Coordinator Taj Haider and Sindh Katchi Abadis Minister Rafique Engr – met with the protesters and tried to convince them to end demonstrations; however, the demonstrators refused to accept the request and continued protesting. The delegation informed the protesters that the chief minister has approved the summary of their regularisation, but legal procedure has to be followed.
The demonstrators were also informed that the provincial government would announce job vacancies through published advertisements and they would be appointed, but the protesters termed the proposal as ‘delaying tactics’.
The delegation assured the protesters that their arrested colleagues would be released in a few hours, and requested them to postpone their hunger strike decision.
ASEDLSA Vice President Abdul Wahid told Pakistan Today that Senior Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq had previously ensured reinstatement of Education Department’s employees on the floor of the Sindh Assembly during its January 2011 session, so it is difficult to trust government proposals.
He said that as per the notification dated August 20, 2010, the chief minister had sacked 7,187 staffers of lower grades, and the employees who were appointed in May 2007 by the then chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim on a three-year contract, were working in different public sector schools as sweepers, chowkidars, etc.
The government has extended their contracts by six months and ensured that they would be regularised from July 20 this year; however, the Sindh government, instead of regularising them, sacked them, he added. The ASEDLSA vice president said that the protesters would go on a hunger strike from today. They would also march towards the Chief Minister’s House tomorrow (Monday) and stage a sit-in there until their colleagues are released and their jobs restored.
The education minister said in a statement that the chief minister has approved the summary for appointment of the sacked employees, but they have to follow the legal procedure. He said that the chief minister has also ordered to give priority to the sacked employees with regard to the posts to be advertised in newspapers, and requested the protesters to end their demonstrations since it is now pointless.
He added that the chief minister has constituted a committee to investigate the incident of baton charging the protesting employees. The minister said that the chief minister has asked Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Ali Mirza to investigate on whose orders were the protesters baton-charged and water-cannoned when they were trying to approach the CM House.
Meanwhile, the Artillery Maidan police have registered FIR No 35/11 under Sections 147, 149, 186 and 341 of the Pakistan Penal Code against 27 detained protesters.