Peshawar - Police resorted to baton-charge and used tear-gas against public sector university teachers protesting against university reforms including reduction in allowances, here in front of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday. 

According to a police official, at least eight of the protesting teachers were detained for blocking the road. 

It is worth to mention that Peshawar University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) President Fazal Nasir was also among those detained and allegedly beaten by the police. 

The protesters, including university teachers from across the province as well as other government employees, had been demonstrating for the last five days. On Monday, they gathered in front of Peshawar University and marched on main University Road towards the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly where they blocked one side of the main Khyber Road. 

The police led by SSP Operations Yasir Afridi resorted to baton-charge and used tear-gas to disperse public sector university teachers who were protesting against university reforms. Several protesters were injured while several others were detained.  

Eight detained, several injured as police fire tear-gas shells to disperse protesters  

The president of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (FUAPASA), Dr Shah Alam, on Monday said the protest would continue until proposed university reforms were withdrawn, and other demands including reduction in allowances of university employees, ending free education for their children and establishment of a provincial chapter of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) under the 18th Amendment etc, were met. 

Dr Alam questioned that when provincial chapters of the HEC were present in Punjab and Sindh then why not in our province. He lamented that the provincial government had reduced the higher education budget instead of increasing it.

Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Association (ASA) of Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan strongly condemned the shelling and baton-charge on peaceful protesters of Federation of All Pakistan Academic Staff Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 

In a press statement, Dr Ayaz Ahmad, president of the ASA condemned the arrest of peaceful protesters and the brutality exhibited by the police. The academic and non-academic employees of the Peshawar-based public-sector universities were protesting for their legitimate rights, he said and added the provincial government was supposed to meet the just demands of the community.  

He urged the government to immediately release the arrested protesters and fulfil legitimate and just demands of the university teachers. “The academic staff of AWKUM extends its full support to the FAPUASA and will go on strike if the demands are not met,” he said.