MULTAN/TOBA TEK SINGH-Almost all teachers’ representative bodies including the Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) rejected the Punjab government’s decision to hand over the educational institutions under the control of Local Bodies, pledging that educational institutions and teachers rights would be protected at all costs.

Teachers took out rallies in different cities of the Punjab, demanding the government to withdraw the ill-advised decision, warning that it would destroy the already decaying educational standards.

In Multan, the Punjab Teachers Union said on Friday the only way to resolve all major problems being faced by the Saraiki region is to create South Punjab province.

Talking to the media here, PTU Provincial Senior Vice President Rana Altad Hussain pointed out that the educational institutions are being given under the control of local governments under Local Government Act. Dubbing the decision ill-advised, he warned that the illiterate local government representatives would completely ruin education system. He alleged that the local government representatives committed embezzlement in development projects in broad daylight. “How will they take steps for lifting education standards. The government must withdraw this decision,” he demanded.

He demanded the PTI government to fulfil its promise and create South Punjab province with its capital in Multan. He said that the problems of South Punjab could not be resolved until the province was created. He stressed upon the federal government to take immediate steps to honour its promise made with the residents of South Punjab.

He urged upon the government to ensure availability of medicines at public hospitals. He regretted that the poor patients, who came to Nishtar Hospital, Cardiology Institute, Children Complex or Shahbaz Sharif General Hospital from far flung areas of South Punjab, faced severe inconvenience due to non-availability of medicines. He maintained that sky rocketing prices of daily use items made it almost impossible for the poor people to feed their families.

He said that the PTI secured a big vote from South Punjab region in the name of South Punjab province. He added that the PTI members won election from South Punjab at a large scale and now it was their turn to fulfil the promises they made with the people before election.

In Toba Tek Singh, scores of teachers of government schools took out a rally here to express their disapproval of the government’s proposed plan to hand over the education institutions under the control of local bodies.

The rally, which was jointly arranged by local chapters of Punjab Teachers Union (PTU), Punjab Educators Association, English Teachers Association and SES Teachers Union, started from Government Model High School and ended at Toba Press Club on Jhang Road.

Participants were carrying banners and placards, demanding to not to hand over government schools to the municipal authorities and withdraw the decision of rationalization of teachers.

Addressing the rally, teachers leaders including Rafiq Sajid and Riazul Hassan announced that if their demands are not accepted they would be forced to close their schools.