ISLAMABAD - The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has banned all the students and employees unions/associations in the 18 public sector universities and asked them to delink their pay scale from the government pay scale.

An official source told The Nation that the Higher Education Archives and Libraries issued a circular to all the public sector universities and asked them that the universities are higher seat of learning, requiring highly conducive environment for learning and other research activities.

Hence, all kind of political motivated union/associations by the students and employees of the universities must be stopped forthwith in accordance with spirit of the judgment of the Supreme Court, it said.

According the circular; “Employees of the universities are not civil servants, there is a need to delink them from the government pay scale. The government’s increase in salaries/pension is not applicable to employees of the universities. The universities should develop their own packages in view of their own financial resources.” “The universities should not make pay enhancement or increase pension under political pressure of their employees. Otherwise, the HEC will be requested to stop funds for such projects,” the circular further said.

When contacted, Peshawar University Teacher Association (PUTA) President Fazl-e-Nasir said that it is good that the government has banned all the politically-oriented unions and associations but PUTA is a non-political association registered under 1973 act by the syndicate. “The government cannot ban us as PUTA has no political affiliation or motivation, it is for the welfare of the university employees,” he said.

“The Supreme Court only banned the student unions and had said nothing about the association/union of the university employees,” Fazl-e-Nasir said, adding; “if government tried to impose a ban on the Association then we have plenty of ways to fight back, including moving to court.”

He said the government cannot disown the employees of the public sector universities as they are being hired in BPS funded by the HEC and the federal government. If the public sector universities are autonomous and not part of the government then why a section officer or secretary Higher Education Department is interfering in the universities matters, he questioned. He said if the public sector universities are autonomous then why the government is carrying enquiries against the university officials and why AGPR is doing its audit. “Some people want to destroy the education system in KP and they are behind this whole episode,” he alleged.