Tanzeem-e-Asataza Pakistan Protest in Islamabad
ISLAMABAD (April 10, 2012) – The teachers of various schools and colleges working under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) at last resorted to protest on Tuesday to demand the release of hiring funds, which have been blocked for the past two years, to rent out houses.
Over 200 teachers gathered in front of National Press Club on the call of Tanzeem-e-Asataza Pakistan, a representative organisation of school, colleges and university teacher of all over the country, over non-payment of hiring facility for the last two years.
Head of the association of Islamabad Chapter Aziz Wahid said ‘it’s a token protest as we don’t want to create any trouble and disrupt the educational activities but if within 10 days the authorities remain unmoved, we would be compelled to boycott educational activities and to mobilise thousands of teachers of the capital’.
He regretted that self-respect of the teachers is being lowered everyday as they face humiliation at the hands of owners for not paying them their dues. According to information, over 13,000 teachers have been working in different schools and colleges in the Federal Capital belonging to different cities across the countries but of them only 5000, less than 50 per cent, are allowed to receive hiring facility as the directorate has imposed a ban on the registration of new cases citing financial constraints. The protesters demanded that without any discrimination every teacher should be enrolled to get hiring facility.
They informed that even those who are registered with the directorate to get the funds for rent out houses have also not been paid for the last two years that has rendered the teacher fraternity up against the wall. The fear of the owner of the house and financial worries are adversely affecting the efficiency of the teachers in the classrooms.
‘How can a teacher teach in a class when he is mentally upset as he is constantly under threat by his house owner to vacate his house as the department has not paid the rent” questioned a protesting teacher. They complained that there are very limited public houses that remain occupied by the blue-eyed people. The teaching community is, therefore, compelled to live in the slums and far-flung rural areas of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
The hiring facility was previously provided by the Estate Office through private hiring system, which was decentralised in 2006. The teachers believed that it was expected that each institution could serve its employees better than the Estate Office but unfortunately no groundwork was done before this drastic step. The biggest number of employees consisting of teachers was left without any infrastructure and worst of all no funds were allocated for hiring purpose.
The red tap budgetary allocation process complicated the flow of payments almost non-functional. The FDE under the Capital Administration and Development Division has the backlog to pay for the rents of its employees for the last two years. Now it exceeds 1063 million rupees. Due to this backlog, no owner is willing to rent out his or her building to any teacher. The tenants are being threatened and there are stories of conflicts between the teachers and the owners.
Teachers and their families are in constant threat from the owners, they added.
Tahir Mahmood, Secretary General of Federal Govt. College Teachers Association said, “We are looking Prime Minister as a last resort for teachers. We want to draw his kind attention to the worst situation in connection with accommodation in the capital city of Pakistan’.
He requested the PM to save the teaching community of the Capital by providing them supplementary grant of Rs.1065 million in the hiring head at least to provide an immediate relief to them so that they can focus on their professional responsibilities in the best possible manner.