Hunza News

(Not) Gone in sixty seconds: Community teachers block G-B Assembly gate in protest

Share This Post

GILGIT:The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) lawmakers were cornered. This time they had no way to leave the assembly premises and avoid the irate teachers protesting right outside the only exit.

HunzaNews May 8th, 2014.

On Wednesday, at least 50 community teachers, comprising mostly of women, blocked the main way out in protest against the government’s failure to regularise their schools which operate under the Social Action Programme (SAP).

The sit-in began a day earlier when protesters complained authorities were not taking the issue seriously. It was, however, easier for assembly members to ignore protesters and drive off in their vehicles on Tuesday.


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. According to the SAP Teachers Association, at least 1,465 teachers are employed on minimum wages at these schools across G-B, where up to 55,000 students are enrolled.

Two decades later, the teachers have had enough and protesters are demanding they receive the same salaries as government instructors.

“We are always being cheated and we will not let this happen anymore,” said Abdul Gayas, secretary general of the teachers association, while standing outside the assembly gate.

“Neglecting us means playing with the future of 55,000 students enrolled in our schools,” he added.

Holed in

The demonstration continued outside the assembly while it was business as usual inside – till the session ended at 1.30pm and the lawmakers found themselves trapped.

A large group of women were sitting outside the gate, blocking their only exit.

Unable to ignore the demands of the teachers, a six-member committee was formed to negotiate with protesters. They assured the crowd the matter will be taken up with the federal government and will be solved as early as possible. This helped cool down the disgruntled teachers who eventually cleared the area outside the gate.

This is not the first time the SAP teachers have approached the government to resolve the issue. Their association sent a proposal for the regularisation of teachers’ services to the Ministry of Finance through the regional government in 2012. According to the organisation’s president, Ghulam Akbar, it did not gain traction due to lack of interest on part of the G-B government.

Earlier, inside the assembly, Fida Nashad of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) raised the issue of protesting teachers, saying the government’s lethargic approach often leads to protests. Mirza Hussain, Amina Ansari and Rahmat Khaliq also supported the PML-N lawmaker and emphasised on an early solution to the issue.

Deputy Speaker Jamil Ahmed avoided lengthy discussions and even overlooked members’ requests to form a committee to negotiate with the protesting teachers. However, lawmakers were forced to engage in a formal dialogue later if they had any hope of leaving the assembly premises.

Express Tribune

More To Explore