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IJT organised a students' rally at KU

Karachi, Aug 9: Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT), University of Karachi (KU) unit, organised a students rally to highlight the acute shortage of KU point buses which cause considerable hardships for students on a daily basis.

Students assembled in front of the Administration building and unfurled a banner that denounced the pitiable condition of university transport and the indifferent attitude of the administration that is doing nothing to address the grievances of students. The demonstration incorporated humour as two donkey carts were used to symbolise KU transport. The students then proceeded towards UBL and stopped there to listen to a student leader who addressed the rally from the roof of a bus.

The students, both boys and girls said that they are exasperated by the continuing suffering they undergo while commuting from their homes. "It is painful to listen to the orchestra of university officials who continue to eulogise the transport services provided by the university. Everything is good on paper. The reality is contrary to such claims," said Saba Farooqui, a student from the Arts Faculty. A bespectacled student, Irfan Nadeem from the Department of Chemistry, was equally angry. "I am surprised and pained by the indifferent attitude of the university administration. It talks majestically but treats students like dregs. It is high time that students unions are revived".

It was a remarkable sight. Students were angry but behaved in an organised manner. Some university officials, connected with student and security affairs looked ill at ease. It appeared as though they abhor the idea of students agitating for their rights. The watch and ward officials were also present and seemed as though they were waiting to pounce on the students who had dared to come out to voice their grievances in the hot and humid weather. The Rangers kept their distance but were on the lookout for opportunities to fulfill their duties by using physical violence against the students. Indeed decades of military rule have left their mark on every segment of civil society.

Dr Khalid Iraqi, the Student Advisor, while talking to us defended the performance of the university in providing comfortable transport and an adequate number of books to the students. He presented statistics of the number of books acquired by some universities and compared them with KU. According to him, the Quaid-i-Azam University has 197,000 books worth six million rupees, The University of Punjab has acquired 340,000 books worth Rs10 million and the NED University of Engineering and Technology has 135,980 books worth Rs6.6 million. However, the University of Karachi has the maximum number of books, 350,000 books worth Rs 20 million.

Furthermore, Iraqi justified the shortage of buses by declaring that the 'dearness', time and high prices of fuel and auto parts serve to render university officials helpless in this context. "The university realises and shares the financial hardships of needy students in particular and of all the students in general. If a student wants to come to the university using public transport, he will have to pay at least Rs10 while KU transport charges only three rupees from any point of the city. From Nipa, one way fare is one rupee," he announced. He further said that the university is spending Rs14 million and six million rupees on the purchase of diesel and maintenance respectively. "But we still have a fleet of 32 buses," he concluded.

Abdul Jabbar, the IJT spokesman termed the university statistics a 'jugglery of words' and said that instead of comparing itself with other universities that have far smaller numbers of students, the university should try to deliver better results. "The students are a precious part of society. They are our hope. KU should not give them such raw deals," he said vehemently. The news
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