LAHORE  -    The Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association (PPLA) continued its sit-in in front of the Punjab Assembly on the third consecutive day on Thursday.

The PPLA demanded pay protection and regularisation of services for lecturers hired in 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2012. They demanded improvement in the promotion structure, which affected lives of government college lecturers who spent major part of their service in one pay scale or Time Scale, without getting promotion.

PPLA President Hafiz Khaliq Nadeem gave a series of short speeches on the third day of the protest and expressed the hope that the Punjab government would look into their demands. He asked his colleagues to “stay united until victory comes”, amid a background motivational song, which has been especially prepared for the protest.

PPLA was formed in 1996 and currently it has 22,623 college teachers as its members who are working at 640 colleges in Punjab.

“Change the four-tier formulae in Punjab: Lecturers (BS-17) 42 percent, Assistant Professors (PS-18) 36 percent, Associate Professors (BS-19) 19 percent, and Professors (BS-20) three percent. The incumbent government can borrow the 50-tier formula from the KP government that is: Lecturers 36.5 percent, Assistant Professors 35 percent, Associate Professors 22 percent, Professor 0.6 percent and Senior Professors 0.5 percent,” he told The Nation.

The PPLA leader said the Higher Education Department recruited lecturers in 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2012 through the PPSC on a contract basis for five years, but this policy was reversed and in 2015 the department recruited lecturers on a regular basis.

Islamia College Railway Road Lecturer Rana Faraz said the apathy of the Higher Education Department could be gauged from the fact that six HED secretaries had been changed in the last one year. “The last secretary of the HED, Muhammad Mahmood, took charge only for 48 hours,” he said.

Zaid bin Omer, who is a chemistry teacher at the Science College, Wahdat Road, said he was recruited in 1987 and got promotion after 18 years. For the last two years, he said, his promotion had been stopped. He said the higher education minister had no powers and it was the bureaucracy, which in fact had all the powers.

Hafiz Abdul Wahid, associate professor at the Government Asghar Mall College, Rawalpindi, worked as lecturer for 24 years of his 31-year service.

Punjab Minister for Higher Education Raja Yasir Hamayun assured the protesters on March 19 that their genuine demands would be accepted. According to the protesters, the Higher Education Ministry has not reached out to them in recent days.

Punjab Higher Education Department Secretary Momin Agha was not available to comment on the situation.