Salaam Teachers Day or Black day

Teachers to observe 'black day'
Islamabad, Oct 05: This time around, teachers have decided to commemorate World Teachers Day as 'Black Day,' which otherwise is celebrated as Salaam Teachers Day, because of the killing of Swat University's Vice Chancellor Dr. Farooque Khan.

The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) has announced a countrywide strike and demanded of the government to take immediate steps for the security of academicians.

FAPUASA President Kalim Ullah lamented that the government had announced 50 per cent raise in salaries of employees of universities but nothing practical has been done so far. "The government had promised to release funding for raise in salaries just to end the series of protests. It is October 4 now, but universities haven't received even a single penny," he said.

Federal Government College Teachers Association (FGCTA) Press Secretary Muhammad Tahir, while talking to the media, said that Federal Minister for Education Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali assured them that the problems of teachers would be resolved on immediate basis but nothing practical has been done so far.

He said that the condition of teachers is the same from day one as no government addressed their issues. "In many cases, teachers waited for 25 years for promotion from one grade to the next," he said.

He said that the current situation has triggered a sense of deprivation among teachers so those who have been serving for many years must be promoted according to the time-scale promotion formula. "Many teachers are not getting salaries for many months after their reinstatement," he added.

National Assembly Speaker Dr. Fehmida Mirza, in her message on World Teachers' Day, has urged the nation to pledge for enhancing the respect and dignity of teachers in society as ordained by our religious, social and cultural values.

She said: "We should take all measures to restore dignity, honour and respect of teachers in society to promote education in real sense.

She said that teachers were instrumental in the nation-building because they give vision and direction to young people who are future of a nation. "Teachers serve as a guide to deliver people from darkness of ignorance, show them the light of knowledge and put nation on the path of development and progress," she said.

She said that teachers besides teaching also concentrate on promoting wisdom, integrity, character and tolerance among students so that they could become good citizens.

The speaker said that a nation could only prosper if it gives due respect and honour to its teachers. She regretted that in the past teachers had been neglected in our society. "Teaching community is an important segment of society and all steps will be taken to resolve their problems," she assured while adding that teaching has been universally acclaimed as one of the noblest of professions.

APP adds: National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) strongly condemned the cowardly assassination of psychiatrist, religious scholar and Vice Chancellor of the Islamic University of Swat, Dr. Muhammad Farooq Khan.

The cold-blooded murder of Dr. Farooq has caused grief and anguish across the country. Dr. Farooq was a mild mannered person who unflinchingly supported the rights of women and religious minorities, and spoke out boldly against extremism and violence. His vision of a moderate Islam reflected the true spirit of the faith and represented the values that the vast majority in this country adheres to.

Dr. Farooq's murder is regrettably the latest in a series of target killings in the country of those who stand up against barbarity and ignorance. Such crimes against humanity continue to be perpetrated because criminals have been allowed to operate with impunity. Flawed legislation, such as the Qisas and Diyat Law, permit criminals to buy or threaten their way out of being punished for their crimes.

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HEC gets Rs1.1 billion as teachers remain defiant
Islamabad: Making an attempt to cool down the employees of public sector universities who are all set to observe "World Teachers Day" as black day the government finally released an amount of Rs1.1 billion to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Monday.

According to the reliable sources, the HEC had demanded Rs5.8 billion additional recurring grants from the government in order to pay 50 percent increase in the salaries to their employees besides 15 percent increase in pension and medical allowance however only Rs1.1 billion has been released.

HEC Chairman Javed Laghari confirmed that the government has released the amount of Rs1.1 billion. "We are very pleased and hope that we together with universities would be able to work for the betterment of education sector besides promoting research culture in the country," he said.

He expressed hope that the Federation of All Pakistan University Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) would call off the strike to be held on today (Tuesday). However FAPUASA President Kaleemullah rejected any possibility of calling off the strike and said that they would continue their struggle until the pledged amount was not released at once. "This is not the way of releasing money. Whenever we mount some pressure, government makes some announcement," he said.

He said that the government was making fun of higher education sector by playing such tactics. "There are 72 public sector universities functioning right now. How the demand of universities could be met with only Rs1.1 billion when we are not really sure as to when the other release would be made," he said.

He said that they don't want to call a strike every month to mount pressure on government to release fund rather they would held a strike today (Tuesday) and would continue till the whole amount as pledged by government is not released.

The issue of HEC budget turned severe when its approved budget faced a cut due to the floods while the increase in the salaries of government employees made it next to impossible for the universities to run their academic affairs smoothly.

The Planning Commission of Pakistan refused to release money to HEC for the increased salaries of employees besides for those students who are studying on scholarship at various international universities.

The first meeting of the committee constituted by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to resolve the issue of non provision of funds to the public sector universities held on 21st September has hit snags due to stubborn stance by the government officials who are apparently not ready to provide funds pledged in the fiscal budget. The stubborn attitude of the government had triggered series of protest demonstrations and strikes in the public sector universities.

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Murder of Swat university VC HEC concerned over security of VCs of public sector universities
Islamabad: After the murder of Swat Islamic University vice chancellor (VC) and renowned scholar Dr Farooq Khan, the HEC has expressed grave concern over the security of VCs of public sector universities, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and urged the provincial government to take concrete steps for their security.

According to the information, letters have been written to KP Chief Minister Azam Khan Hoti and KP Governor Awais Ahmed Ghani by the HEC chairman in which he, besides expressing his condolence over the assassination of Dr Farooq Khan, also highlighted the severe security threat to the VCs of KPK.

"I am now extremely concerned regarding the personal safety of vice chancellors of public universities of Kyber-Pukhtunkhwa. The horrible murder of Dr. Farooq comes in the wake of the earlier kidnappings of Dr Lutfullah, vice chancellor of Kohat University who was released after more than eight months in captivity, and the more recent brazen kidnapping of Dr Ajmal Khan, vice chancellor of Islamia College University.

These attacks on our eminent academic leaders are deliberate and designed to cause chaos in our institutions of higher learning," said the contents of the letter written by HEC Chairman Dr Javaid Laghari.

The HEC chairman also mentioned that the VCs of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa have highlighted the issue of their personal security on many occasions and have demanded of the government to provide them appropriate security.

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Vice-chancellors under attack in KP
Peshawar: Dr Mohammad Farooq Khan was the third vice-chancellor of a public sector university in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who became victim of militancy-related violence during a period of less than one year.

Dr Farooq, vice-chancellor (VC) of the Islamic University Swat, was shot dead along with his assistant Saleem Khan after two attackers broke into his clinic in Baghdada, Mardan, on Saturday and opened fire on him. He received five bullets in his chest and abdomen and died instantly.

Before him, VC of Kohat University of Science and Technology, Dr Lutfullah Kakakhel, was kidnapped by suspected militants and freed after more than six months in captivity. He was lucky to have survived.

Prof Ajmal Khan, VC of Islamia College University, Peshawar, is still untraceable after being kidnapped in the first week of September. All indications are that he is alive.

Teachers and students of various public and private sector universities are feeling a sense of insecurity after the three incidents. Though security has been beefed up at the campus of the University of Peshawar, senior teachers at this university and also at other public sector universities feel uneasy due to the wave of lawlessness.

On a number of occasions, intelligence agencies tipped off local police about a possible attack on educational institutions. Private schools have also bore the brunt and suffered several attacks.

There had been intelligence reports that militants were planning to attack senior academicians, including VCs, across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and this had spread a sense of insecurity among these teachers.

Dr Farooq was appointed as the first VC of the upcoming university in Swat. He was vocal in condemning the militants while the two kidnapped VCs were never heard saying anything against or in favour of militancy.

This was probably the reason that militants decided to get rid of their staunch opponent instead of making him hostage like his two other colleagues.

Dr Lutfullah was seized by militants from Darra Adamkhel while on way to his home in Peshawar in November last year. He had previously served as advisor to former governor Lt Gen (R) Iftikhar Hussain Shah.

Ajmal Khan was kidnapped by armed men from the Professors' Colony, located adjacent to the University of Peshawar campus.

Raids have been conducted in parts of Peshawar and also in Khyber Agency for his safe recovery.

He is grandson of Dr Khan Sahib, former chief minister of West Pakistan and the then North West Frontier Province and elder brother of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, commonly known as Bacha Khan.

Apart from the three VCs, the family of a directress of Education Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was also targeted.

Her son was kidnapped from outside their house in Hayatabad town in Peshawar and released a few days later.

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FAPUASA condemns murder of Swat VC
Islamabad: Strongly condemning the assassination of Dr Mohammad Farooq, Vice-Chancellor of the proposed Islamic University, Swat, Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA) has announced complete strike on Oct 5 which is "Salam Teachers Day" and instead observe it as a Black Day in all the universities of the country.

Dr Farooq, a renowned researcher in Islamic Studies and expert psychologist, was running his own clinic in Mardan in addition to working on creating infrastructure of the proposed university. He along with his gunman was killed Saturday at his clinic by two unknown assailants in Mardan. Earlier, he served as a Shura member of Jamaat-e-Islami for sometime. He also contested National Assembly election from NA-6 as a candidate of Islamic Front.

Dr Mahr Saeed Akhtar, President, and Prof Kaleemullah Breach, General-Secretary, FAPUASA, from Lahore and Quetta respectively, demanded of the government to pay at least Rs50 lakh to the family of Dr Farooq.

They also condemned the callousness of KP Governor Owais Ghani who is also Chancellor of all state-universities in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa. They said that his inaction led to the kidnapping of two VCs, the whereabouts of Prof Ajmal Khan, VC of Islamia College University, Peshawar, are still not known. Both the office-bearers demanded immediate dismissal of the K-Pakhtoonkhwa Governor and providing security to the academia in all the provinces, K-Pakhtoonkhwa and Balochistan in particular.

The FAPUASA said that complete strike will be observed in the country on International Day of Teachers known in Pakistan as 'Salam Teachers Day'.

They said that there will be no classes and demonstrations will be held in all the provincial capitals and Islamabad. It appealed to all the teachers to participate in the rallies.

They also condemned Higher Education Commission and Ministry of Finance which despite promises did not release a single penny to any university so far.

The teachers had observed a strike on Sept 22 against the drastic cuts in the budget for higher education. The prime minister later had announced release of required funding but nothing happened till the filing of this report.

Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Associations of Quaid-i-Azam University, National University of Modern Languages, Allama Iqbal Open University and International Islamic University also condemned the daylight murder of the VC and announced to follow the strike call of their federation.

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Universities mourn killing of Dr Farooq
Peshawar: The public sector universities observed three-day mourning on the killing of Dr Mohammad Farooq Khan, vice-chancellor of Islamic University, Swat.

A condolence meeting held at the Khyber Medical University was presided over by Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mohammad Hafeezullah. The meeting condemned the killing of Dr Farooq Khan and urged the government to take effective measures for the security of the vice-chancellors.

The meeting was also attended by Registrar Dr Fazal Mahmood, Treasurer Abdul Siddique, Director Academics Prof Dr Shad Mohammad, Controller of Examinations Prof. Dr Shahnaz Akhtar, Consultant Research and Development Dr Tasleem Akhtar and others.

The participants of the meeting paid glowing tributes to Dr Farooq Khan for his meritorious services. They also expressed sympathy with the bereaved family. Meanwhile, Quran Khwani was offered in all the universities on the university campus Peshawar for the departed soul of the slain vice-chancellor. The national flag also flew at half-mast in the universities to mourn Dr Farooq's death.

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Call to arrest killers of VC
Lahore: The teaching fraternity and students, while strongly condemning the killing of religious scholar and intellectual Dr Farooq Khan who was also Vice Chancellor of the proposed Swat Islamic University, have demanded immediate arrest of the killers. The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) and student organizations, including Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), said the government had failed in stopping kidnappings and killings of the teachers. The news

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