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Teachers warn govt of hunger strike unto death

ISLAMABAD, May 30(Dawn): Leaders of the Pakistan Teachers United Front (PTUF) have threatened to go on hunger strike till death if the government does not listen to their demands of upgrading their service structure in line with other government departments.

The PTUF, a representative body of over 800,000 school teachers throughout the country, has give a protest call against the government for not fulfilling its set of demands that largely aim at the promotion of teaching as a profession.

"Enough is enough, we are here in the federal capital for the solution of our problems and will not go back empty handed. This time, come what may, we will make it sure that the government listens to our problems," a PTUF office-bearer said.

The PTUF says it is not demanding luxurious bungalows, air- conditioned cars or other such stuff which the ruling class of the country is enjoying, but enough salary so that they (teachers) can easily make both ends meet.

The front's Balochistan chapter organised a hunger strike on Tuesday at the busy Aabpara Chowk. Next day (Wednesday) it will be representatives from the NWFP and AJK who would sit at the same place followed by those from Sindh and Punjab provinces.

After this first leg of hunger strike if the government remained unmoved, the leadership of the PTUF would go for a symbolic hanging in-front of the Parliament House on the day of budget.

Afterwards, the date for the hunger strike till death by the leaders of the PTUF would be announced.

According to the protesting teachers, time scale job is their main demand. At present, hardly there is any promotion in the school-level teaching profession and baring exceptions, a teacher is retired in the same grade in which he/she gets recruited.

During the last four years, on several occasions the government had accepted PTUF's demands; on records six times by the federal education minister, twice by the prime minister and once by the National Assembly speaker, they said.
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