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Will clashes at universities ever stop?

A number of violent incidents among student groups at universities
Karachi, March 20: It has now almost become a routine that clashes break out among student groups at universities across the city, leaving dozens of students injured, at times seriously, and disturbing the functioning of educational institutions. The irony is that, just like the administrations of these universities, the police seem to be helpless in protecting the students and arresting the people responsible for spreading violence.

A number of violent incidents among student groups at universities were reported during the past week. A case was lodged at the Aziz Bhatti police station in which a complainant, Asmat, complained that when he was going home after his class along with his friends on March 5, 2010, some persons belonging to a religious political group - Amir Shahzad, Suleman, Naveed, Bilal, Saeed, Taimur, Abdul Kareem, and Irfan - stopped them near the BSc Gate of the university and beat them with sticks. Asmat said that he was injured and was now under treatment at the JPMC. The police have lodged an FIR. He is a student of MBA at Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUAAST).

Similarly, another student, Abdul Raheem Khan, who was also injured in the incident, registered his complaint at the Aziz Bhatti police station, stating that he is a resident of Gulshan-i-Iqbal, and is a student of MBA in FUAAST. He added that he was going home along with his friends when Haider Ali, Mohsin, Asmat, Gohar Zikria, and Umer Farooq attacked them at BSc Gate of the university. He said that he received injuries and is under treatment. The police have lodged an FIR.

Another clash was reported at Gulshan College. An FIR was lodged at the Gulshan-i-Iqbal police station in which a complainant, Rao Ramzan, stated that he was a student of 2nd Year, and Nazim of a student organisation. He said he was beaten by members of a rival student group when he came to college one day to appear in examination.

He explained that the workers of the rival student organisation - Irfan, Shahab, Nadeem, Amir Abid, Asghar, and Iqbal with 10 others - came at the college and asked him to talk to them about some issue. He, along with his colleagues, Taimur, Rehan, and Suleman, reached in front of a nearby mosque to discuss issues with the rival group's members. However, he said, the above mentioned persons beat them with sticks and rods and resorted to aerial firing, injuring him and his friends. The police lodged an FIR. However, no one has been arrested so far.

It may be noted here that Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Ali Mirza, while taking notice of student clashes at universities and colleges, had directed Provincial Police Officer Sindh Babar Khattak to form committees in consultation with the administrations of educational institutes to control the clashes. However, no progress has been made in this regard.

Observers say that the members of student organisations are well armed and whenever fighting occurs at universities, supporters of these organisations also come from other colleagues or universities.

The institutions in the city where most number of clashes are reported include Karachi University, NED University, Sir Syed University, and FUUAST. Whenever a clash occurs in these institutions, it affects the other educational institutions as well and, as a result, rival groups also start fighting at various colleges and universities across the city.

Moreover, sources said that at the time of admission at these educational institutions, an affidavit is signed by the applicants that if he was found involved in political or other criminal activities he should be expelled from the institution. However, the administrations of these institutions have never tried to implement this decision. Rarely student activists are expelled expelled from varsities for their involvement in clashes.

The sources said many FIRs are lodged at different police stations in the city against the students involved in creating law and order situation on the premises of educational institutions, but no action was taken against them by the police or the administrations of the institutions. If the administrations start taking strict action against such students , the number of clashes would significantly decrease.

On the other hand, the police claim that whenever the try to take any action, they face protests and allegations from educational institutions or from political parties for victimising the students. If no one is allowed to do their work, it becomes hard to control such clashes, the police say.

Moreover, during the past week the city also witnessed the killing of three activists of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (Haqiqi), including Haqiqi's chairman Afaq Ahmed's lawyer Sohail Aujum, who is also the information secretary of the party. This may intensify the law and order situation in the city. salis.perwaiz@thenews.com.pk

The ugly side of student politics: Frequency of protests may yet rise
Islamabad: The current wave of violence over abrupt rise in public transport fares is likely to sweep other parts of the country if the government fails to bring onto those orchestrating these protests, intelligence sources said on Friday.

"We have informed the government that the situation has been drastically changed and the matter of fare hike is being used as a leverage by political players to further their agenda," they said.

"Police are responsible for maintaining law and order situation but not authorized to negotiate with different stakeholders who can disrupt city's peace any time they want," they said.

The protest against fare hike started at Bhara Kahu on Thursday and turned violent when a college student, 18, was shot at and hospitalized. On Friday, Benazir Bhutto Shaheed (BBS) Road was no less than a battlefield between protestors and the police. Bhara Kahu and Faizabad bore the brunt of these protests, led by students.

However, DIG (Operations) Bani Amin said that only a few students were involved in Friday's protest and a lot of unknown persons.

Sources said Pothohar Student Federation (PSS) that is very active in F-G Post Graduate College for Men, H-8, Islamabad, came on the forefront upon advice of an influential politician in Rawalpindi. An activist of the PSS claimed proudly that Shaikh Rashid, president of the Awami League, had extended his full support to 'us whenever we are in trouble'.

It is learnt that Khan Student Federation (KSS) led the Faizabad protest. The sources said KSS President Umer Khan had been involved in violent activities and he had long been supported by MQM. They said the strength of KSS had decrease following tension between MQM and ANP in Karachi.

H-8 college officials said Umer Khan visited the college a couple of days ago and requested the principal to let him announce formation of a KSS unit. "Though Umer Khan has left the college, he still controls his KSS. He is capable of providing weapons to 'adventurous' students and take part in selected activities," a student said.

College officials said Umer Khan visited the college escorted by half a dozen outsiders. "Most students know his truth but he has money and usually hires jobless youths to pursue his motives," alleged a farmer member of KSS. Daily times

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KU, Fuuast closed today
KARACHI, March 19: The University of Karachi and the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology in separate statements issued on Friday announced closure of their campuses on Saturday on account of the death anniversary of Pir Sibghatullah Shah (Sooria Badshah).

The examinations schedule for the day would, however, remain unaffected by the closure, the KU statement said. App

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