QAU protests: After students superglue locks, classes cancelled

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 7:30:15 by


As terminal exams approach, the current unrest at Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) continues to exponentially add on to the number of problems students face.

On Monday, students boycotted classes and completely shut down the varsity while threatening to do so indefinitely. In the morning, they paralysed the university bus service by locking the gates, leaving a large number of day scholars unable to reach campus, while some students put epoxy adhesive in the locks of different departments so that teachers could not go in to take classes.

The students demanded the restoration of 11 students who were expelled by the disciplinary committee on April 27 for disrupting an International Conference at the university, during which some students pelted stones at the venue.

“We have gone on hunger strike till the fulfillment of our demands,” said Hamid, who is one of the expelled students. He told The Express Tribune the varsity administration was not paying any heed to their woes.

“It is only an allegation that we were aggressive and threw stones during the conference. No one tried to dig up the true story behind the incident,” he said.

Hamid claimed they were standing peacefully outside the conference hall and wanted to talk to Higher Education Commission (HEC) high ups about facilities that were lacking at the hostels.

However, the administration did not allow them to and “a security guard slapped an MSc student, who fell on the ground and hit a flower pot with his head, which needed stitches. Only after this did students turn aggressive and threw stones”.

He claimed the varsity is also charging for facilities which do not exist, including charges for a social sciences laboratory, which puts an unjustified financial burden on them.

“This is open corruption by the varsity…and they are punishing us for this. The university administration and vice chancellor in particular have deliberately delayed the syndicate meeting and proven that they have no commitment to reconciliation,” he added.

Besides this, shortage of water in the hostels, prolonged power outages, old books in the library, and locking the girls hostels from the outside to prevent female students from exercising their constitutional right to peaceful protest were among the reasons given for the current protest.

Students claimed that on Sunday night, a police team also came to the university and threatened to arrest the protesting students. The protesters subsequently acknowledged that they had overstepped their right to peaceful protest and agreed to approach the university syndicate to apologise and request reinstatement.

QAU Vice Chancellor Dr Masoom Yasinzai said, “Nothing is in my hand, I cannot restore them and have tried to explain this to them several times. They should wait for their futures to be decided in the syndicate meeting scheduled for June 2.”

He said some students believe they can get their demands fulfilled by hook or by crook, which is wrong.

He claimed that the recent water supply issue has been partially resolved. “We have limited financial resources and cannot fulfil each and every demand made by students. However, we have no objection to peaceful protests,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2012.

Islamabad News Sources -2

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