Apr 06, 2012

Sindh: Demonstration for Better Education Conditions

A demonstration was held on 5 April 2012 in Hyderabad to discuss what needs to be done to improve the current and deteriorating state of employment conditions in the education sector in the Sindh region. 

Below is a press release issued by the Federation of All Pakistan Academic Staff Association (Sindh Chapter):

HYDERABAD, April 5: In order to express solidarity with the demands of teaching community at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University (SBBU) Nawabshah and Sindh University (SU), Sindh Chapter of the Federation of All Pakistan Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) in its meeting held at Nawabshah had advised all the public sector Universities in Sindh to hold a demonstration at local press club in each city on April 5 [2012]. In this regard, Sindh University Teachers Association (SUTA) along with Sindh University Employees Welfare Association (SEWA) arranged at Hyderabad Press Club. Representative of teachers, employees, students and leaders/workers of socio-political parties including Sindh Professors & Lecturers Association (SPLA), Mehran University Teachers Association (MUTA), Women Action Forum (WAF), Sindh Tararqi Passand Party (STP), Awami Jhamoori Party (AJP), Labor Party Sindh and others participated in the demonstration.   

 While talking to media Dr Arfana Mallah, General Secretary FAPUASA Pakistan and Dr Azhar Ali Shah General Secretary FAPUASA Sindh Chapter said that SUTA had organized an open dialogue entitled “Sindh University Crises: the way ahead” on March 27, 2012. As a result of this dialogue the house proposed a set of demands to be immediately implemented to bring the University of Sindh out of crises. These demands included revision of Sindh University Act/Charter, probe of murder cases, immediate termination of Nazir Mughul and appointment of an eminent academician as VC, restoration of student unions, deweaponization and withdrawal of police and rangers from the campus among others.

 They said that, about one week has passed but none of the above demands have yet been implemented. On the same day when SUTA organized its open dialogue, Prof Anwar Mangrio, President of Teachers Association of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Nawabshah filed a petition in Sindh High Court Branch at Hyderabad challenging the appointment of Mr Arshad Saleem Arain as VC of his University. As per his credentials, Mr Arain is a non-academician, non-experienced and non-qualified person who got installed as VC by the ruling coalition without following any procedure of advertisement and search committee. Executive Director of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr Sohail Naqvi has publicly rejected this appointment and warned that HEC would not recognize the degrees of this University if it doesn’t remove Mr Arain from the post of VC.

 It is surprising that instead of removing Mr Arain from the post of VC, the Syndicate of the University which is dominated by the MPs, MNAs and relatives of the leaders of major ruling party in Sindh, decided to terminate the services of the President of Teachers Association who filed the petition against the illegal appointment of VC. All the teachers, student, employees as well as common citizens of Nawabshah are under shock over such an authoritarian and autocratic style of governance at the newly established University of 21st century which is named after great pro-democracy leader Ms Benazir Bhutto.

All the speakers including Mr Muzfar Kalhoro (STP), Mr Abrar Kazi (AJP), Ms Haseen Shah (WAF), Mr Ghulam Nabi Bhalai (SEWA) expressed their surprise that this so called democratic government has installed such persons as VCs who can’t even tolerate the democratic rights of teachers to fill in petition against their wrong doings. They said that it is a shame that more than three months have passed but still the government has failed to appoint a permanent VC as per HEC criteria at the University of Sindh. The speakers reiterated the demands of the teaching community and urged the government to take immediate action in terms of resolution of these demands which include:

Removal of incumbent VC at SBBU and reinstatement of terminated teacher Prof Anwar Mangrio.

Implementation of the demands of Sindh University Teachers including immediate termination of Nazir Mughul and appointment of an eminent academician as VC, revision of Sindh University Act 1972, probe of murder cases, restoration of student unions, deweaponization and withdrawal of police and rangers from the campus among others.

The demonstration was concluded with open invitation to all the participants to attend the FAPUASA Sindh Chapter meeting to be held on Monday April 9 at Allama I.I Kazi Hall, Model School, Sindh University Old Campus, Hyderabad at 3:00PM.