Minister suspends teachers moonlighting as journalists
By: Zeeshan Azmat
In the wake of a list released by the Education Department which showed that over 350 of its employees — mostly schoolteachers – were working illegally in the private sector, Minister for Education Pir Mazharul Haq on Sunday directed the secretary education to immediately suspend all such moonlighting officials.
The Education Department’s list pointed out the employees illegally working in the private sector and not performing their official duties as per requirement. As per the minister’s direction, an assistant professor, serving as news editor at a daily Sindhi newspaper, would also be suspended and the department would conduct an inquiry against him.
Secretary Education Siddique Memon has been asked to take immediate action according to the law so that all moonlighting government employees could be handed punishments. The minister also directed the Sindh Information Department to issue a detailed list of such employees as many names were not included in the one issued earlier.
“Some elements of society associated with local media groups and practicing yellow journalism are involved in my character assassination. However, I would like to point out that I will not bow to such elements,” Pir Mazhar said.
Although they are trying to blackmail me, I will not surrender to such people, he asserted. The minister said that he would neither be influenced nor hesitate to take action against the moonlighted employees. The education minister clarified that the department would take action without discrimination.
”After the issuance of the list, teachers or lecturers working for media organisations have started damaging my character in their publications. They even alleged that I presented an Ajrak to the dictator General Ziaul Haq during his regime,” he added.
Such allegations are baseless, Pir Mazhar said, and challenged them to produce evidence. He recalled that he remained in jail for two years during the Zia era and struggled against the dictator.
He mentioned that he used to be a journalist before starting his political career. “I started my career in journalism as a proof reader and then became a sub-editor for a Hyderabad-based Sindhi daily newspaper and I am proud of it. During that time, I was not associated with any government job,” he further stated.
The Education Department would soon release the list of college-based lecturers and assistant professors who are working for media groups or NGOs, he added. All regional directors of the Education Department were instructed to prepare lists of those employees who are working in the private sector.
According to the list, most of the moonlighting teachers are working in media outlets in the interior Sindh. It also shows a junior schoolteacher, a Naib Qasid, a Sindhi language teacher and five primary schoolteachers from Karachi working for different media organisations.
Source: THE NEWS