Pak police resorts to baton-charge on teachers protesting new regularisation policy
Hundreds of teachers protesting near Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s residence in Banigala on Saturday were forcefully pushed back as the police resorted to use of force by firing tear gas and baton-charging the protesters.
Up to 700 teachers from Punjab reached Islamabad and decided to march on Khan’s house to hold a protest against the new regularisation policy of their department, 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 department on contract for several years.
Police officers informed the media that on Saturday a small unit succeeded in pushing back the protesters and getting the road leading to the premier’s residence cleared.
The area was later ‘sealed’ and given under the protection of a well-equipped police contingent that included personnel of the Counter-Terrorism Department and Anti-Riot Unit, while dozens of protesting teachers were detained in different police stations.
Four teachers had been arrested by the police for ‘interfering’ in the discharge of duties by government officials and for violating coronavirus safety protocols.
Opposition parties strongly condemned the police action. Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) secretary-general Syed Nayyar Bukhari called for the immediate release of the detained teachers.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) information secretary Maryam Aurangzeb cornered PM Imran Khan, stating that he should be “ashamed” of the incident.
Dozens of teachers were injured after a confrontation with the police, while reinforcements were called to the Banigala area and deployed to various locations. The demonstrators also assembled at Mulpur Chowk to stage a sit-in protest.
Meanwhile, Islamabad deputy commissioner Mohammad Hamza Shafqat reached the chowk to negotiate with the protesters, however the teachers refused to end their protest.