PoK teachers take to streets demanding salary hike
Hundreds of teachers were on the streets in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) raising slogans against the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government, which they say has misruled in the region for decades, and demanded an up-gradation in their salaries.
The teachers said that in other government departments the high ranking officials have been receiving a regular hike in their remuneration, but they have been ignored and discriminated against.
An appeal was made recently to convene against the government resonated with a large number of teachers who gathered in Muzaffarabad recently.
However, the police baton-charged them and lobbed teargas shells to disperse them.
The protesters said the government gives a handsome hike in salaries to the police and bureaucratic heads but the teachers are not paid even at par with the newly recruited C grade officials.
They also said that they are not fazed by the violence and will not return until their demands are met.
The demonstrators chanted, "What do we want? Up-gradation (in salary)".
The teachers said that they are the worst affected by rising inflation in the region and are struggling to make ends meet. But the government which makes tall claims of investing in the quality education of the people of the region has turned its back on those who are the fundamental constituents of the educational structure.
"We will not stop till the time our demands are fulfilled. Even if it means putting our lives at stake, we will not stand down" one of the demonstrators said.
"I will not return home till my demands are fulfilled," said another demonstrator echoing a similar sentiment.
Last week, Police resorted to lathi-charge and fired tear gas at teachers in Muzaffarabad on Wednesday, who were staging a protest, demanding the authorities upgrade their job ranks.
Several teachers were injured and as many as 20 protesters were arrested by the police.
Last month, police resorted to using force and firing tear gas at the protesters after several teachers held a protest near Prime Minister Imran Khan's residence in Banigala to protest against the new regularisation policy of their department.
Up to 700 teachers from Punjab had reached Islamabad and decided to march on Khan's house to protest against the new policy, which regularises the jobs of only those teachers who pass the examination of Public Service Commission and clear the interviews.
The protesters viewed this policy as 'unjust' as they have been working in their departments on contract for several years.
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