The new Pakistani ambassador to Syria, appointed by President Zardari, has summarily sacked the entire staff and faculty of the Pakistan International School in Damascus and appointed almost all his immediate family members for a collective monthly salary of $38,000 (Rs3.2 million).

The sacked teachers and staff members of the school run by the embassy, who were removed for no reasons and without any prior notice, have been compelled to go into litigation against the Pakistan Embassy, The News has learnt.

The Pakistan International School in Damascus is run by the embassy of Pakistan but within five months after the arrival of new ambassador, Aminullah Raisani, in September 2009, the management and faculty of the school was changed altogether without giving any reason and the school was stuffed with the relatives of the ambassador.

According to the list of newly inducted teachers Saeeda Yasmeen Raeesani has been appointed as Principal. She is sister of the ambassador and is drawing $6,500 per month as salary while the previous principal Syed Tauseef Bokhari was getting $2,500. Another sister, Ms Abbas, has been appointed as Urdu teacher for $3,500 per month.

Two daughters, Amna Aminullah Raeesani and Quratulein Aminullah Raeesani, have been appointed as teachers. These two are getting $3,000 per month as salary while the school was paying only $1,700 for the same job to previous teachers.

Mohammad Ishaque, brother-in-law of the ambassador, has been appointed as accountant for $3,500 per month while the same job was previously with one Imran for just $900 a month.

Attique-ur-Rehman and Syed Muhammad Ali, ambassador’s nephews, have been appointed as business teachers for $3,000 a month while the same job was done for $1,500 only before September 2009.
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Nayla Atiq, granddaughter of ambassador’s sister, is working as Maths teacher for $3,000 a month while her predecessor was drawing $1,700 a month as salary. Ali Abdullah, the son-in-law of ambassador’s sister, and Muhammad Ahsan Shafique, ambassador’s cousin, have been appointed as teachers for $3,000 a month while their predecessors were drawing $1,500 a month.Another cousin of the ambassador, Rasheed Chattha, has been appointed as biology teacher for $3,500 a month while previously Ms Manal Sileman was doing the same job for $1,500 a month.

Ms Manal Sileman, one of the Syrian teachers of the Pakistani school who has been sent home without giving any notice and without any reason, while talking to The News from Damascus on phone said that it was strange that an ambassador instead of running the affairs of the embassy was keen in the business of the school.

She lamented that the ambassador has imported Chinese shoes and made it mandatory for every student to purchase those shoes at much higher rates. She said that the school was being ruined as the new incompetent teachers have been hired for more than double the salaries the previous faculty was getting.

Another teacher Saad al Hassan said that he has gone to the court with a heavy heart because he has served the school and Pakistan and now the court will issue an order against the Republic of Pakistan.

He said that he has respect for the Pakistani nation but because of a few people he has been compelled to go into litigation against the embassy and according to the Syrian laws the Pakistan Embassy in Damascus could be heavily penalised.

Saad said that the school was rated among the best in Damascus and the elite, including the foreign minister of Syria and deputy foreign minister, had started sending their kids to the Pakistan International School of Damascus but with the advent of new administration many have opted for other schools in the city.

He said that last year the school won eight gold medals in the Cambridge examination and the income of the school in 2006 was US$2,042,400 per annum and it rose to $4,774,000 per annum in 2009 with the number of students almost doubled i.e. from 600 to 1,100.

Ambassador Aminullah Raisani was too busy to talk to this correspondent. However his spokesman Zahid Ali who works as Counsellor in the embassy denied all these allegations. He said that the previous management was incompetent that was why it was sent packing while competent people have now been inducted in the school.

Zahid said that it was not true that the newly appointed teachers were drawing more salaries than the previous management. “We write to the Foreign Office of Pakistan about our tasks here,” Zahid replied when asked about some teachers going into litigation against the embassy.