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Student politics - a violent chapter | Kinnaird college fee hike

Student politics - start of a new violent chapter
Lahore, May 01, 2008: Student politics is deeply rooted in the Pakistani education system. However, instead of being constructive, student politics has become synonymous with violence, aggression and bloodshed.

Students have killed students over differences of opinions and ideologies.

Since 1948, 178 students have been killed in student union violence. From 1947-1984, 13 students were killed in 151 violent incidents, while from 1984-2004, 165 students were killed in 525 violent incidents.

The history of student politics is rife with unions being hijacked by influential groups. This has been the main cause of students putting down their pens and picking up guns, as student workers and leaders under the influence of power feel they are above the law. Later, with their violent deeds behind them, influential groups use these students as hitmen, land-grabbers or even as a means to intimidate their rivals.

Many a student who turned criminal has been killed in shootouts with the police. We talked to several former student union leaders and workers to get an insight into the world of student politics in Lahore.

These men have at one time or the other been part of the Muslim Students Federation (MSF), People's Students Federation (PSF), Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), National Students Federation (NSF), Quaid-e-Azam Students Federation (QSF) and Anjuman-e-Talaba-e-Islam (ATI). They said the lower tiers of student unions were the first to turn to violence. This, they said, happened in the late 1970s when the MSF and IJT joined hands and in collaboration with 'hidden forces' (read the government) started working against the PSF. This led to PSF members forming splinter groups to ensure their survival. The splinter groups, the most prominent being the Black Eagles, were more militant than the rest and started struggling against the MSF-IJT alliance.

Within a few years, cracks appeared within the MSF-IJT alliance and the two unions started jostling with each for campus influence. Violence hit campuses in 1983 when several IJT workers kidnapped MAO College MSF leader Khawaja Saad Rafique and beat him up. The incident led to Saad becoming influential in student politics, due to which he won the union election held on December 21, 1983, and the MSF took possession of MAO College. This was the last election before student unions were banned because of campus violence.

After the ban, these unions operated underground and the tussle between the MSF and IJT increased and became more intense. Many students were killed, while many others became criminals in the process. This is when a new breed of 'student' appeared one who did not go to college, but was affiliated with a student union and took part in its politics.

This is also the time when students shifted from hockey sticks as their favourite choice of weapon to a more sophisticated item .30 pistols, rifles, shotguns and machineguns. Colleges and hostels became their hideouts. During this time, many students 'came of age' and were feared on campuses. These students include Arshad Amin Chaudhry, Arif Chaudhry, Sohail, Abdul Jabbar, Ishaq Khan, Atif Chaudhry, Fawad Hussain, Sajjad Sabri, Nawaz Jatt, Akram Gujjar, Sunny Prince, Raja Umair, Agha Naveed, Tony, Rana Muhammad Azim, Tariq Gujjar, Abdur Rehman, Kamran Butt, Imran Zaidi, Shahbaz Butt, Rana Imtiaz, Ghulam Mustafa and Ibrahim. These men were in charge of Government Diyal Singh College, Islamia College Railway Road, Commerce College Allama Iqbal Town and Government College of Technology.

The IJT had possession of Punjab University and a few other institutions and a group led by Tahir Sindhu and Sunny had set camp at Government College Lahore. This group was called the Ravian Front.

In 1993, the MSF splintered into MSF and MSF-Junejo due to the political shift in Islamabad and the race for control of institutions began. The MSF once again divided into MSF-Nawaz and MSF-Quaid-e-Azam during Nawaz Sharif's term in 2000. From then until today, the MSF-Q strengthened itself and secured many colleges across the Punjab, including MAO College. However, since the lifting of the ban on student unions, the MSF-N has regained its strength and is vying for control of all colleges that the MSF-Q had taken hold of. This resurgence resulted in Monday's clash at MAO College.
By Shahnawaz Khan



Students clash at Landikotal Degree College
Landikotal: Two student groups belonging to the Afridi and Shinwari tribes clashed on Wednesday at the Landikotal Degree College. Aerial shots were fired during the scuffle between the student groups but no casualties were reported. A Landikotal Degree College student said that some Shinwari students were listening to very loud music, which disturbed Afridi students studying in an adjacent room. The clash started when Afridi tribe students asked the Shinwari tribe students to stop playing the music. A Khasadar Force officer and his colleagues intervened and mediated a truce agreement between the student groups.



Kinnaird girls protest against fee hike
Lahore, May 01, 2008: About 300 Kinnaird College (KC) students on Wednesday protested against the college administration over an increase in fees.

They shouted slogans against the KC administration and demanded that administration revoke the decision.

The protesters, mostly bachelor's students, gathered on campus and marched towards the administration block. They carried placards and banners against the fee hike.

A few days ago, the KC administration issued a notification regarding an increase in fees. KC Vice Principal (VP) Nighat Khan and other teachers tried to stop students from protesting, but to no avail.

The VP told the students that they would be allowed to submit the fee in installments. The students vowed to continue their protest till the withdrawal of the decision.

Aqsa, a bachelor's student, said the decision was unfair and against the college rules. She said, "The KC administration did not mention in the prospectus about the fee increase in the ongoing session."

Sadaf, another student, said, "Last year I paid Rs 27,000 and now the administration is demanding Rs 37,000. The college administration told us to submit the fee before May 10."

Mahwish, a student, said the college administration has also increased hostel dues. We will not submit the fee and continue to protest against this unfair decision."

A KC teacher said the decision had been taken after a meeting of the college deans. She said the fee had been increased to provide students with more facilities. Daily Times



PU awards three PhDs
Lahore: Punjab University has awarded PhDs to three scholars in different subjects on Wednesday.

According to a press release issued on Wednesday, Saima Sadaf was awarded a PhD in Biotechnology after completion of her thesis titled 'Cloning, Over-Expression and Characterisation of Somatotropin Gene of a Local Bubaline Breed'. She completed her thesis under the supervision of Prof Dr Muhammad Waheed Akhtar.

Kalsoom Akhtar got a PhD in Chemistry after completing her thesis titled 'Removal and Recovery of Heavy Metals from Industrial Effluents/Bacterial Leachate by Microbial Biomass'. She conducted her research under the supervision of PU School of Biological Sciences Director Prof Dr Muhammad Waheed Akhtar.

Habib Amjed was awarded PhD in Chemistry after completion of his thesis entitled 'Estimation of the Residues of Antibiotics in Poultry Products Available in Local Markets'. He completed his thesis under the supervision of Prof Dr Javed Iqbal of the PU.

Amjad Ali awarded PhD degree in Punjabi after completing his thesis entitled 'The Concept of Humanism in Punjabi Poetry'. He completed his thesis under the supervision of Prof Dr Ismatullah Zahid of the PU. The News
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