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SAU employees seek removal of VC

Hyderabad, March 13, 2008: Administrative work remained suspended in Sindh Agriculture University in Tandojam on Wednesday due to strike by the university employees, who are protesting against non-acceptance of their demands including removal of Vice Chancellor Professor Bashir Sheikh and contractual appointees.

A group of 25-employees led by Hussain Bux Veesar, chairman Employees Action Committee, Mohammad Ali Rustamani, general secretary of the committee, Shah Meer Lochi, Ghulam Shabbir Kaleri and others, continued their long march towards Garhi Khuda Bux on foot in support of their demands. They have decided to stage a hunger strike unto death on the grave of assassinated PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto along with employees of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto College, Dokri, which is also affiliated with SAU, Tandojam.

The main demands of the employees included: appointment of family members or children of those employees who had died, payment of compensation to heirs of employees who lost their lives while performing their duties as per notification of Sindh Governor, payment of medical allowance of Rs2000 that is being paid in other universities, regularisation of employees working on contingency basis for last several years.

"The VC is not ready to speak to us. We are demanding removal of VC and all those employees who have retired from their service but have been re-employed on contract basis. They are getting their pension and salaries simultaneously", Hussain Bux Veesar, who was leading a group of employees, said over phone from Bhitshah. The employees would resume their journey and stay in Saeedabad and then in Sakrand.

Veesar said that employees were being threatened by police that if they didn't call off their protest, criminal cases would be lodged. "We have decided to stage hunger strike unto death outside the grave of late Benazir Bhutto where we would be joined by around 160 employees of ZAB college Dokri who are also part of our action committee", he said. According to him, the continued walk have given the employee blister in their foot.

The employees staged a sit-in outside the VC office and refused their work, causing suspension of all kinds of administrative work. They raised slogans in support of their demands and removal of VC, officials and some professors, demanding inquiry into alleged corruption.

On Wednesday DPO Hyderabad Imran Shaukat also visited the campus in connection with law and order issues. He also tried to speak to then employees and VC but the former refused to sit with the latter for holding negotiations. Then the DPO held talks with employees and VC separately. "To me there were few points that were valid from both the sides and likewise there were few points that were unjust from both the sides", said the DPO.

The employees demanded that the VC should go to Bhitshah and persuade protesters to call-off the protest. The pro-vice chancellor is supposed to meet the employees but it hasn't been finally decided. There has been no comment from university side and when its public relations officer was contacted he undertook to call back but he didn't.

Professor's transfer slammed
Hyderabad: The Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association condemned the Sindh Education Secretary Shafique Khoso for transferring Prof Ghulam Akbar Sarki of the Government College, Jacobabad due to political and personal reasons.

Prof Riaz Ehsan, Prof Liaquat Aziz and other SPLA leaders said in a statement a junior assistant professor had been posted in place of the senior professor. The SPLA leaders warned of resisting dictatorial orders if forced upon.

A meeting of the SPLA Sindh Council had been convened for March 17 at the Government Sachal Sarmast Arts and Commerce College Hyderabad to discuss problems of contract lecturers, promotions and upgradation of lecturers and professors, reappointment of retired professors and other issues. Dawn
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