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Event Title: Senator Irfan-Ul-Haque Siddiqui, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education & Professional Training Presiding over a Meeting of The Committee at Parliament House Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-08-29

During a meeting held today at Parliament House, Chairman Standing Committee on Education and Vocational Training, Senator Irfan Siddiqui passionately articulated that the abrupt dismissal of teachers with years of dedicated service amounts to criminal offense. Drawing a parallel, he emphasized that even a household maid, who has worked diligently for fifteen years, should not be subjected to such unfair treatment.

Senator Siddiqui continued to advocate for fairness, highlighting that long-serving teachers, deserve better than sudden terminations without proper justification.

Furthermore, Director General and Director of Federal Directorate of Education's (FDE) actions came under scrutiny for misleading the Senate Standing Committee. Consequently, the matter was referred to the Senate Privileges Committee for thorough investigation and appropriate action.

The committee's meeting was marked by Senator Irfan Siddiqui's strong assertion that the sudden dismissal of teachers without valid reasons is an unacceptable criminal act. He passionately expressed that these actions should not be tolerated under any circumstances. He drew attention to the fact that even a domestic worker with a decade or more of service should not be subjected to such unjust treatment. The Senator also criticized the arbitrary interpretation of court decisions that led to the dismissal of over 500 teachers, a move that disregarded established legal principles.

In light of the incident, it was revealed that 551 teachers teaching in Islamabad's model colleges were instructed to cease their duties from August 10 without proper justification. Concerned about the sudden turn of events, the affected teachers sought the intervention of the committee's chairman, Senator Irfan Siddiqui. Subsequently, the matter was included in the agenda of the ongoing committee meeting.

Efforts were made by the Director General and Director of FDE to validate their actions by referring to court orders. However, they failed to provide concrete evidence supporting their claims. The Ministry of Law's opinion was also invoked, but representatives of the Law Division clarified that it was a standard response and was not a specific querry from the Ministry of Education.

The committee was informed that Secretary Education is currently attending a cabinet meeting, Committee chairman directed the ministry officials to contact the secretary, Meanwhile a brief ten-minute break was observed in the committee meeting. Education Secretary Waseem Ajmal joined the committee meeting following this brief pause. Meanwhile, committee members expressed strong dissatisfaction with the Ministry of Education's unwarranted dismissal of teachers with over fifteen years of experience.

Rabia Waheed, a female teacher representing the affected educators, provided a comprehensive account of the situation and presented relevant court decisions. After extensive deliberation, Senator Irfan Siddiqui gave a ruling in favor of the immediate reinstatement of all 551 teachers to their positions as of August 9.

Education Secretary informed that a committee has already been setup chaired by Dr. Niaz Ahmed, Vice Chancellor of Quaid-e-Azam University, to address the matter. Senator Siddiqui directed to include the affected teachers in the committee's proceedings. The committee acknowledged the Education Secretary's understanding of the matter and expressed hope for a satisfactory resolution.

In strong disapproval of the conduct of two ministry officials, DG FDE and Director Colleges, the committee referred the matter to the Senate Privileges Committee for misleading the standing committee.

The committee meeting also encompassed discussions on the dismissal of Montessori teachers, with assurances from the Secretary of Education of their prompt reemployment. The issue of promotion of teachers and vice-principals of grades 17 and 18 within federal educational institutions was addressed, with ministry officials assuring the committee of imminent and appropriate action.

During the committee session, various bills concerning the establishment of new higher education institutions were under consideration. However, proceedings were adjourned due to the absence of the bill proposers.

The committee engaged in an in-depth conversation about the prolonged vacancy of Pakistan chairs abroad. After due consideration, the Chairman of the Committee tasked the Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to collaborate with the Ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs to address appointments to these international chairs. A comprehensive report is expected to be submitted within ten days.

The committee meeting saw active participation from Senators Fawzia Arshad, Falak Naz, Professor Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar, Secretary Education and Vocational Training, DG FDE, Chairman HEC, and officials from the Ministry of Law.