Employees of the University of Balochistan staged a protest on Thursday, blocking Saryab Road in Quetta to raise their voices against the non-payment of salaries. The protesters, including teachers and staff, brought traffic to a halt from 8 am onwards, demanding a permanent solution to the salary crisis.

Addressing the protest, the president of the Joint Action Committee stated that the University of Balochistan is the mother university of the province, employing numerous teachers, officers, and staff. He said that paying their salaries is the responsibility of the puppet-government under the control of the Army and a basic right of the teachers. However, the university employees have been forced to protest to secure their salaries for the past four years.

“The provincial and federal authorities should allocate funds for all universities in the country at the beginning of the budget so that the issue of employees’ salaries can be resolved permanently,” he said.

The protest leader claimed that despite assurances from the provincial assembly that salaries until June would be paid, the commitment has not been fulfilled. “Teachers are meant for classrooms, not for sitting on the roads,” he added.

Meanwhile, in Quetta, the Balochistan Community Schools Teachers Association took out a rally from Metro Politan Corporation, in a demonstration in front of the Balochistan Assembly. The protesters carried banners and placards with slogans demanding an increase in the salaries of contract teachers and their regularization.

The teachers, who have been working on contract for the past 17 years, said that community schools are approved by the provincial puppet-government under the control of the Army and called for immediate steps to regularize their services. They cited a unanimous resolution passed in the Balochistan Assembly in 2019 in favor of regularization, which has yet to be implemented.

“Despite the passage of 17 years, no steps have been taken for the service of the teachers, and no service structure has been made,” the protesters said.

The community school teachers said that the Balochistan Education Foundation, which monitors the schools, pays them a meager Rs. 32,000 per month, equivalent to a laborer’s wage, while spending crores of rupees on supervisors’ salaries and visits.

They demanded that the salaries of teachers be released through the DAO code and that the monitoring of schools be conducted by the education department, DAOs, DDOs, district supervisors, and RTM teams.

The protests highlight the long-standing grievances of the academic community in Pak-occupied-Balochistan over salary issues, job security, and lack of investment in education infrastructure. While the Pak Army exploits Balochistan’s resources, it has done nothing for the development of the community, instead employing brutal tactics to suppress them. Employing misgovernance and militarization, Pak-occupied-Balochistan’s overall infrastructure and socio-economic progress have suffered severely, leaving teachers and students to bear the brunt of the crisis in the education sector.

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