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Claim they will not leave till govt gives them more than lip service

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GILGIT:‘We are here to stay’ is the message the protesting teachers put across on day three of their sit-in after they pitched tents outside the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Assembly gate. “We will not retreat till we get written orders from the government,” said a teacher, while addressing fellow protesters on Thursday.

HunzaNews May 9th, 2014.

Joined by students, teachers from schools working under the Social Action Programme (SAP) pitched tents outside the assembly to camp overnight if necessary.

On Wednesday, lawmakers were forced to negotiate with the protesters, who had blocked the assembly’s sole exit. Later teachers showed signs of ending the protest after MPAs assured them the G-B government would take up the issue of regularising SAP schools and paying teachers a fair salary with the centre.

Determined to achieve their goal, and joined by more teachers and dozens of schoolchildren studying at SAP schools, the demonstrators returned the day after in stronger numbers. They demand the same salaries as government instructors – something promised to them almost two decades ago.

G-B’s education department set up community schools under SAP in 1994 with the promise to regularise them and bring them under the department within three years, provided their performance was satisfactory. At least 1,465 teachers are employed at these community schools across G-B, where up to 55,000 students are enrolled. Some teachers are paid a salary as low as Rs4,000 a month.

G-B Assembly takes up issue

Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) legislator, Fida Nashad was one of six people who negotiated with protesters on Wednesday, including Home Secretary Attaur Rahman and Secretary Education Nawaz Naseem.

“We agreed to adjust teachers who meet the required criteria after they take a test and are interviewed. Those who do not meet the criteria would be considered for another option,” Nashad briefed the house on Thursday.

He warned the protesters had made it clear they will not end the sit-in until lawmakers offer more than lip service.

Minister for Law Ali Madad said the SAP teachers could be accommodated by setting a criteria and this should be discussed in the cabinet meeting.

Amina Ansari of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) objected to the presence of children in the protest outside the premises, demanding action be taken against protesters for using students for personal gains.

The deputy speaker asked Madad, Nashad and Ansari to sort out the issue and make recommendations to the chief minister for a solution. 

 Express Tribune

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