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DMC, SMC hostel evacuation leaves int'l students homeless

KARACHI, Aug 18: The Dow University of Health Science (DUHS) and the Sindh Medical College (SMC) students, including international ones, residing in hostels were forced to leave after a 24-hour notice, following a deadly clash between two political student wings.

Muhammad Kamrizzaman Khan, a third-year MBBS student from Bangladesh, said he had nowhere to go on such a short notice "Don't the authorities know how difficult it is for foreigners to live outside in the city," he said. "I am a bachelor and renting a flat would be tougher than discovering America for us."

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai Boys Hostel of SMC also received the same orders on August 16. A few international students were found there after the notification. The camp office of Pakistan Rangers has been set up inside the hostel's premises. The wing commander has, however, given the 70 international students two more days to leave.

DUHS Vice Chancellor Masood Hamid Khan said this was a short-term difficulty. "They have to understand that all these steps are being taken for their own safety and the problem will be resolved soon," he added.

The DUHS VC said the order of evacuation was a precautionary measure to prevent further violence. "This step is necessary to de-politicize the entire educational institution, including the hostel," he said. The university has been closed till Monday but the hostel will be sealed for an unknown period.

"All students will have to leave the hostel immediately," he said. "We have ordered to use force against violators," he added.

A group of law-enforcement personnel headed by the warden of Waris Shah Hostel (DMC) Farhat Hussain Mirza sealed all the rooms of the hostel along with its adjourning doctors' hostel. Students tried to protest but later left the place with their belongings.

"It seems as if our hostel is also going to be like the University of Karachi hostels," a student said. He felt the students were scared of the way the evacuation order was received within such a short period. No student managed to contact the higher officials despite repeated efforts.

Mirza assured these students of a quick return and safe custody of their belongings. "We will seal the rooms and the hostel's main gate until the next order is received," he said. "Leftover furniture and stuff will be in safe custody," he added.

The administration has informed the embassies and consulates of these students about the notification. All international students are to contact their consulates as all future communication will be conducted through them. Daily times
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