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PU 'sealed' to stop IJT's book fair | PU rejects Jamiat medical report

No means no!: PU 'sealed' for 4 days to stop IJT's book fair
Lahore, May 12, 2008: The Punjab University (PU) will remain closed from Monday (today) to Thursday to stop the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) from holding its annual book fair.

Moreover, the PU vice-chancellor (VC) has instructed the PU Hall Council chairman to evict all the male boarders, except foreign students, from the PU hostels for these four days.

According to the information received, the PU administration has deployed 400 police personnel on the campus following reports of presence of 'outsiders' at PU hostels. The IJT had previously announced that it would organise the three-day book fair by all means.

PU Public Relations Officer Shabbir Sarwer said on Sunday that the decision to close the university was made at a special meeting. He said that the PU administration had also sought help from police to stop the book fair. He said that security would be deployed at all the entrance gates of the university, and no outsider would be allowed inside. He said that the list of illegal 'elements' belonging to the IJT would be handed over to the police. "A late night operation is expected at the hostels to arrest those activists," he said. He said that all the deans of the PU had been instructed to hold make-up classes after Thursday to cover the lost time.

USF protest: Earlier on Sunday, a number of PU students belonging to the University Students Federation (USF) announced to hold a protest in front of the PU VC's office on Monday against the holding of the book fair. The USF activists said that the protest was to make the VC realise that granting permission to the IJT to organise the fair would create problems in the university, because other political groups were opposing it. On the other hand, PU IJT Nazim Rana Zahid said that the entire country would be in turmoil if the book fair was cancelled.

USF spokesman Ahsan Chaudhry said that the federation had already warned the PU administration that the university's functioning would be disturbed by the book fair. "The IJT wants to hold the book fair to show its power, but we will never allow this," he said, adding that the IJT would not be allowed to set up its hold in the PU again. He said that students were not against the book fair, as it was for the welfare of the students, but here the situation was different. "We will suggest to the PU administration on Monday that it should only arrange the book fair if it can be positive for the varsity," he added.

Warning: PU IJT Nazim Rana Zahid said that the union did not have any political purpose behind the book fair. However, in a press statement issued on Sunday, he denounced the university administration for declaring the book fair illegal and immoral. "Those who are trying to thwart this event are themselves illegal," he said, adding that after the restoration of the student unions, the PU syndicate's decision regarding the book fair had no legal standing.

He said that the book fair would definitely be held on May 13, 14 and 15, and that if anyone tried to spoil the event, peace in the country would be disturbed. "The chancellor and PU VC will be responsible for whatever happens afterwards," he warned. Daily Times

PU rejects Jamiat medical report
Lahore: Punjab University Resident Officer-I Prof Dr Bashir Ahmad, also member of the varsity's medical committee, has rejected blood diagnostic test results provided by the Islami Jamiat Tulaba during its two-day medical camp on the New Campus.

Prof Ahmad said the IJT had given the grim health data just to panic the university. "The university does not recognise these test results," he added.

The IJT organised a free medical camp this week, where some 2,000 university students' blood was scanned. The IJT reports that the medical camp managed by the King Edward Medical University and Allama Iqbal Medical College doctors and students detected one student HIV positive, 96 Hepatitis-C positive and 43 carriers of Hepatitis A and B.

According to a gender-wise break-up, the IJT said a boy was detected HIV positive. Of 43 Hepatitis-C positive students, there were 17 female and 26 male students. Similarly, there were 33 girls and 63 boys detected as Hepatitis A and B carriers.

The IJT said the blood tests were conducted by Al-Khidmat Foundation and Surraya Azeem Trust Hospital technicians.

The RO-I said that the HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B ailments were blood borne and had nothing to do with the consumption of water.

He said only Hepatitis A was water-borne disease, adding that there were no water tanks but the fresh water was supplied to electric coolers directly from water reservoir, 800 feet down the earth.

He said the university's underground water test results showed it was safe by any quality standards.

In hostels, he said, the university had installed filters, which were being replaced periodically. He also said that university's chief medical officer also examine the water samples from hostels on monthly basis.

Prof Ahmad also said that the university had already made it mandatory to conduct HIV and Hepatitis tests of all students at the time of their admission to university hostels. Dawn

PU canteens teeming with child workers
Lahore: A number of children between the age of five and 10 work in canteens and hotels of the Punjab University in violation of the Employment of Children Act, 1991.

There are at least 20 male hostels and 65 departments at PU, each with it own canteen. In addition, there are two large fruit shops, guest hotels and barbershops on the premises, many of which employ children who work all day for low wages. The majority of the children employed are from villages, whose parents send them to work with the shopkeepers in exchange for payment.

The PU administration says that several times action has been taken against these shopkeepers, but they continue to employ children.

According to the Employment of Children Act of 1991, it is illegal to employ children below the age of 14 for physical labour. Child labour is a countrywide problem.

Several children working at these shops said that they worked from morning until night, but did not know about their wages because the money was sent directly to their parents.

Perwaiz, a seven-year-old child from Kasur working at a PU canteen, said he had been working there for the last three years. "I have never been to school and none of my family members are educated. The owner of the canteen where I work is also from my village. He only gives me food, which is prepared at the canteen. He beats me every now and then on very trifling matters," he said.

Amir (5), another child employee from Daska, said he received Rs 80 a day for his work, cooking from morning until evening. He said he was allowed only a one-hour break during the day. "We don't have holidays. We go home when the university is closed due to holidays or on special occasions like Eid. My father also works here and my employer directly gives him my salary," he said.

A canteen owner who asked not to be named said that he did not know it was a crime to hire a child under the age of 14. "Children are good employees because they are quick to carry out orders," he said, adding that he gave sufficient time to children to rest.

PU Hall Council Chairman Dr Saeed Ahmed Nagra said parents sent their children to work because they lived in poverty. "The university administration has several times taken action against the canteen owners for hiring children, but they again bring them for work," he said.

Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) Regional Manager Rashid Aziz said that there was a need to raise awareness among people on the issue. "It is a crime to put a child to labour so legal action should the violators," he said. Daily Times

Your Comments

"university of the punjab is sealed for four days.12,13,14 and 15 may due some circumstances. Police will rade in hostels about illegel people.because of this legal are suffering from problems........"
Name: waseem
City, Country: lahore, Pakistan

"In an already ceasing ambiance of extra-curricular activities,the arrangement of a Book Fair should have been supported with all sort of facilities, but on the contrary, the PU administration is trying its utmost to stop it from taking place. Now,when student unions are restored, the IJT has a legal right to organise such events. There is no sense in opposing such positive activities."
Name: K.L
City, Country: Karchi, Pakistan

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