QAU: Unfortunate Authorized Use of Violence Against Protesting Students

Saddam Shah
Quaid-i-Azam University is a top-ranking university of Pakistan that is nationally and internationally recognized. Its one of the many prominent features is, it is the only university in the country that respects federation and reflects it practically in its quota system by giving equal opportunity to the students of all federating units and thus, it is a university of students and faculty from diverse backgrounds, having pluralistic taste that entire country is blessed with.
There are students’ councils on the ethnic basis that also work unitedly under the banner of Quaid Students Federation (QSF) and work on issues of common interests of students. This student unity is not aligned to any political party but as students’ representative body (majority students of six students’ councils) and to have a students’ check on administration. Besides that, it plays a forefront role to resist any extremist organization in the campus. Whether it is legal or illegal or is it necessary or unnecessary, is a separate debate itself.
Read also: BSAC and Civil Society Balochistan Protested against Police Brutality in Quaid-e-Azam University
In early months of this year, an unfortunate accident occurred, between Baloch and Sindhi students, that was partly because of the misconduct of students themselves and partly because of lack of vigilant administration. It was, basically, an issue between two class fellows that was brought to two students’ groups, leading to a serious clash among them.
Finally, after a syndicate meeting, some forty students were expelled and suspended from both students’ groups. This syndicate decision was totally a mess, it was neither fairly called nor sincerely held and was based on perception rather unbiased and neutral investigation. It is well known among students that those who were responsible for that incident were set free and those who were thought to be active because of their previous activities or doubtful faces were listed among expelled and suspended.
After this, since last three weeks, Quaid Student Federation decided to hold a protest against the administration, in which they highlighted some thirteen demands including the one of students’ restoration after being heavily fined before expelling and suspending.

It was very simple to know that the major part of this effort was to restore expelled students including fee increment issue, increasing transportation buses, registration of unregistered departments and some others.

So, the rest of demands were included to get a voice of other councils too and gain the support of neutral students and day scholars. It was a nice job to include vital issues of the majority students, which sounded great.
The university administration, most importantly the Vice Chancellor, was reluctant to even consider those genuine demands for two weeks, which finally were taken into consideration after when the issue became viral in media that pressurized the university administration as well. The Vice-Chancellor was playing his game and agreed to the demands but that of restoration was left to the syndicate that Sindhi and Baloch students were not ready to acknowledge but finally Quaid Student Federation called off the strike as the university had been closed for three weeks, disturbing the period of this semester.
Baloch councils alone held a press conference to continue their strike till the restoration of students, a day before the arrest. Early morning only Baloch students had a sit-in in front of university buses to stop the departments to be functional, including some other students but not QSF, and for that Police was already active to act with an invitation call of the worthy Vice Chancellor. Students were first forcefully taken into custody and later some other students also voluntarily surrendered to show sympathy and unity, in which most of the students belonged to Balochistan, including some other Pashtuns.

Police as an institution couldn’t be held responsible but the university administration, which opted that and brought it into the issue, should be asked for this blunder and unwise step.

Students were released within twenty-four hours and Baloch including other Pashtun students even protested on Tuesday in front of national press club and maintained their demand for the restoration all students.
The issue of two class fellows led it to an issue among administration and all students, particularly two groups and later a determination to restore by students and ego of administration, keeping them expelled after heavy fines on them. Neither university administration has been sincere nor the students who resort to continue the strike until end.
Was the press conference of Baloch council valid to continue it for the sake of two Baloch and six Sindhi students that they wanted to restore when Sindhi students backed from their immediate demand and opted to wait for review by the syndicate committee? Was their agenda limited to this point or a pre-planned and beyond this commitment? Should it be seen from the ethnic lens that could be scrolled in social media? Does the blame come on Police? These are very serious questions to be explained rather let it be neglected simply.
The way it was raised in media, particularly in social media, is more hurting a neutral stance. No one across the country appreciated the violence on students and even called it a violent act, indeed but was it logical enough to do this all for two students and then giving it other labels. People are given a perception that police did this all unjust with Baloch and Pashtuns and that is set, is obviously not a true picture of the story.

Sensible point is that majority students on the campus do not know the entire dramatic elements behind it, who are of course not only all Baloch students but few opportunists and egoistic faces in administration and students.

The people of Balochistan, sharing their sympathy with its Quaidian students is perfectly understandable but that is also being exploited for some other agendas by people already waiting for this. It doesn’t mean that all is being exploited, there is real grief over the unwanted and unwished incident but that should be dealt rather only raised.
Academia is a significant part of society and country and that is very sensitive as well, because of majority adventurous and emotional youth. Quaid-i-Azam university, as a leading national institute, should have been a role model for our other higher education institutions but unfortunately, we all students and administration are unconsciously determined to deteriorate its prestige and scholarly contribution by allowing few specific people to manipulate a minor administrative mishap, creating such a chaos.
This case should be resolved by university administration with open hearts and great prudence, keeping in mind of its consequences but surely not at the expense of university code of conduct, as students have already been heavily charged as punishment, and set that as precedent for upcoming issues to be avoided and most importantly it should be realized beyond university boundaries, as a grim issue that has provincial and national impact.
Students should also realize that a normal fight between two students when brought to group level and made an ethnic issue is that much problematic if they really care about, which mostly must do. Whereas, university administration, both Vice Chancellor and Syndicate, should know that their negligence can stimulate a minor issue to such violent day.
Writer is a student of Defence and Strategic Studies at QAU, Islamabad. His areas of interests include. Politics of Balochistan, South Asian Politics, and Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism. Reach him on twitter @Saddam_Shah98.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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