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Punjab University closes hostels, postpones exams

PU cleans house
Lahore, Apr 09: The Punjab University (PU) on Thursday announced that it would close its hostels from Friday (today) onwards and postpone the ongoing semester examinations.

A meeting, chaired by PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran, made these decisions. Deans, principals and administrative officers of the university attended the meeting. The meeting was held in the backdrop of violence at the PU. Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) activists recently thrashed Prof Dr Iftikhar Hussain Baloch, the chairman of the varsity's disciplinary committee.

Meanwhile, the Federation of the All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA) has announced that academic staff at public sector universities across the country will observe Monday as a Black Day to protest thrashing of the PU teacher.

The PU meeting strongly condemned IJT hooliganism and decided that all PU hostels (male and female) will be vacated from April 9 (today) till further orders. The meeting, however, decided that foreign students will be allowed to stay. "The deficiency in studies due to the ongoing strike of the PU Academic Staff Association will be made up by faculty by taking extra classes," said a PU statement.

A senior faculty member said there had been no classes for the last couple of days as boarders had left. "The PUASA has already announced that there will be no classes until miscreants were arrested," he added. He said mid-term semester exams of various departments, institutes and constituent colleges were due but these would be held when teachers ended their strike.

It is learnt that the PU was closing hostels as it wanted to construct walls around boys hostels. After the construction of walls, boys hostels will have a single entrance/exit. According to another PU press statement, Additional Registrar PU Ahmad Ali Chatta has urged politicians to immediately disband politically-motivated student unions in state run academic institutions in the province. He was presiding over a meeting of the PU Officers Welfare Association at Al-Razi Hall New Campus on Thursday.

Officers alleged that politicians had held government educational institutions as hostage for the last 60 years and their student unions were playing with the destiny of students. Meanwhile, hundreds of teachers led by varsity's PUASA President Dr Mahr Saeed Akhtar, who is also the newly-elected president of the FAPUASA, held a peaceful protest walk at the Old Campus on The Mall.

Carrying banners and placards, protesting teachers strongly condemned Jamiat's act and also distributed leaflets among passers-by. Leaflets termed IJT a 'terrorist' organisation and slammed it for 'hijacking' the PU.

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"Punjab university must stop this Goondaism before its too late."
Name: Shazia
City, Country: Lahore, Pakistan

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Goondaism at a varsity that produced Nobel laureates
Lahore: The manhandling of a Punjab University professor, Dr. Iftikhar Baloch, by Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) activists at the largest and oldest seat of higher learning in Pakistan is the most tragic incident in the history of the institution, which is said to have produced three Nobel laureates.

According to the media reports, the violent reaction was an outcome of expulsion of some IJT activists involved in some violent activities. Around five IJT activists, whose cases were processed by the varsityís Disciplinary Committee, headed by Dr. Baloch, were issued expulsion notifications. It further aggravated the situation and, as expected, the IJT resorted to violent mayhem.

Muslim Town Police have registered cases against around 30 IJT activists on charges of manhandling Professor Dr Iftikhar Hussain Baloch. But the question is if the lost prestige of the professor can be regained.

Although, campus violence is not a new phenomenon in Pakistanís chequered political history, such sort of violence by the student group belies the government claim of providing security and protection to its citizens. It also shows the deteriorating law and order situation at the Punjab University which seems to have provided no security to its senior faculty members.

Lukewarm police reaction of the New Muslim Town police officials is only condemnable as it helped the Jamiat goons to continue their devastating spree without any fear.

Until 1947, the politically active part of the student community in the sub-continent was more concerned with political questions like anti-colonial movements, flanked by Indian nationalism on the one hand, and Pakistan nationalism on the other. However, the nationalist spirit was soon replaced by the regional spirit after the creation of Pakistan. Various student organizations rendered support to political parties in their struggle for regional autonomy and democratic rights.

It is pertinent to mention that Bengali nationalism, developed and mushroomed after 1947 in the Eastern wing, was fully demonstrated in the language movement of 1952 in which students were the main players of the struggle. Students were in the forefront in 1962 for the cause of education rights. Similarly, they played active role in 1966 movement for self-rule.

Students played major role in overthrowing the Ayub regime. Afterwards, during the Bhutto regime, they were on the forefront in the anti-Qadiani movement.

Student politics is a complex phenomenon in Pakistan. Almost all major political parties and leaders maintain armed cadres supplied by student organizations. Invariably, the armed cadres have their protectors or 'godfathers' who have the power and influence in the administration to shield them from the long arm of the law.

As a result, in spite of many punitive laws enacted by governments from time to time, no government has been able to restore peace to the campuses. The government alone is not responsible in this regard as the civil society and political organizations are also responsible for the mayhem. The parents of students used by the organizations as a pawn should remember that they are responsible for their childrenís actions.

One reason for such a turn of events is certainly the lack of good governance and the Punjab government should try to make ëcampus security forceí for maintaining peace in the campuses.

It should also encourage research culture for developing the universities as the engines of accelerated development for the country.

The methods and forms of campus violence seem to have undergone fundamental changes. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the politics and ideologies of the time characterized campus violence. In the late 1980s, campus violence began to show symptoms of ordinary criminality. However, the post-Musharraf scenario needs tangible handling of the student affairs as we need to promote democratic culture in the universities.

The Jamaat e Islami, Pakistan, also needs to decide once for all whether it would side with democratic forces or continue to conspire against democracy. It should remember that the age of violence and rule through coercion and torture is all but over and students cannot be tamed by show of force and strength.

Campus violence is a demon and no one likes to see it growing again. This is high time the government took concrete steps to make the campuses free of violence.

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Grade 10 students beat varsity students in science contest
Lahore: Grade-10 students defeated university and college students in a science Olympiad held on Thursday

The four-day science competition was arranged by the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). The Choueifat team secured the third overall position in the Math Gauge event. In the final round of the Tour de Mind, the International School of Choueifat competed against King Edward Medical University, GIK University, Generation's School Karachi and NUST. After a nail biting session, the school's five young students stood second beating over 150 competing educational institutions. The team of GIK Institute stood first.

The Choueifat team received a special acknowledgement from LUMS students committee in view of their overall impressive performance notwithstanding their young age. Students from around 150 educational institutions such as King Edward Medical university, University of Engineering and Technology, NUST, GIK Institute, Aitchison College, Beaconhouse School System, Lahore Grammar School, Generation's School and Roots International School System participated in the event.

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UVAS students protest shifting of campus
Lahore: Dozens of students from University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences (UVAS) opposing the decision to shift Faculty of Veterinary Science (FVS) to varsity's Ravi Campus, Patoki, protested on Thursday.

The protesting students of DVM programme criticized the administration which later had to 'alter' its decision and notified that the FVS students would have to join the Patoki campus for practical part of studies only.

UVAS Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz said the varsity had developed various facilities at the Patoki campus while two of the faculties had already been shifted there. "The students need to be trained in the field", he said adding "The Patoki campus has maximum facilities for veterinary training."

He further said the campus had other facilities too including computers, internet, and hostel. "It is unfortunate that the students are reluctant to work in field", he said adding "In the end it is going to help them in their professional lives."

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UHS employees, clerks block The Mall
Lahore: Employees of the University of Health Sciences continued their hunger strike in front of Punjab Assembly on Thursday to protest against varsity administration for not regularising its grade 1 to 15 employees in violation of orders of the Punjab government.

They were holding banners inscribed with their demands and chanted slogans against the UHS administration for denying them their right. They also adopted a novel way of protest by staging mock hanging and beating their chests to reject contract appointments of grade 1 to 15 employees.

The All Pakistan Clerks Association, besides their own demands of raise in salaries, also expressed their solidarity with UHS employees and blocked The Mall for more than two hours.

They claimed that MNA Hamza Shahbaz had taken notice of the situation and assured APCA Lahore Division President Haji Irshad on telephone from Islamabad about regularization of UHS employees.

"The MNA also assured that he would visit the hunger strike camp of UHS employees on his return," they claimed.

University of Health Sciences (UHS) employees announced that they would continue their protest and hunger strike camp until their demand was met.

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Faiz Hall at GCU
Lahore: The Government College University (GCU), paying tribute to eminent Urdu poet the late Faiz Ahmed Faiz, has set up Faiz Ahmed Faiz Seminar Hall at the varsity. According to a press statement, the inauguration of the Faiz Ahmed Faiz Seminar Hall was held on Thursday. Noted Urdu novelist Hammed Akhtar, the chief guest of the ceremony, said Faiz had a positive approach towards life. 'Apart from a revolutionary poet, he was also a poet of beauty and love, he said. Dr Saadat Saaed from the GCU Urdu Department also spoke on the occasion while the department also announced holding international seminar on Faiz Ahmed Faiz every year on the occasion of his birth anniversary. The news

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Sit-in for restoration of IUB students
Bahawalpur: The striking students of the IUB Engineering College on Wednesday condemned expulsion of their 13 class fellows from the university.

Talking to the media here, the students who are camping on Hasilpur Road outside the Baghdadul Jadid Campus, described the expulsion of their class fellows as unjustified.

They said the students of the engineering college were being targeted and demanded that the IUB administration withdraw the expulsion order and restore their admission.

The protesters have been staging a sit-in at the camp site for the last one week. Dawn

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