Shias must pray in own hostels: PU
LAHORE, Aug 25: The Punjab University (PU) authorities on Friday decided to allow Shia
students to offer prayers in their own hostels instead of praying collectively
in one hostel, it was learnt.
PU registrar Dr Naeem Ahmad said the
administration had decided to allow Shia students to offer prayers in their
hostels. Shia students, he said, would not be allowed to pray collectively, as
they had been praying collectively in the mosque of hostel-17. He said the PU
administration would not allow anyone to disturb the PU atmosphere. The Human
Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in a press release on Friday slammed the PU
administration for refusing to let Shia students pray collectively.
HRCP criticised the PU administration on expulsion of PU Shia students. The HRCP
termed this decision 'unjust'. The HRCP said it was a violation of human rights.
The HRCP said the PU was not a "military garrison".
Shia students have
been protesting against PU authorities for the last 20 days, as the authorities
had not allowed them to offer their prayers on the campus.
On August 23
PU vice chancellor (VC) Lt Gen (r) Arshad Mehmood chaired a meeting of PU
authorities. In the meeting deans and senior officials discussed the separate
prayers issue. On condition of anonymity, a senior PU official said prayer was
not an issue but some teachers were politicising it. He blamed both Shia
students and Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) for playing in the hands of people with
"vested interests". He said, "Some teachers are taking the issue as a campaign
for vice chancellor ship." He said the Punjab University Academic Staff
Association (PUASA), in connection with IJT, was trying to stop the VC from
taking extension for the third time.
PUASA president Dr Mumtaz Ahmad
Salik said the association was not concerned with the issue. He said the PUASA
was struggling to remove the military VC. He said, "Everyone should be allowed
to offer his/her prayers according to his/her sect on the campus."
Students Organisation information secretary Mumtaz Ahmad said a large number of
Shia students had offered their asr prayers in front of the Lahore Press Club on
Friday. He said,
"We will continue our protest till the PU administration
provides us a separate place for prayers or allow us to pray collectively on the
campus." He said 13 Shia prayer leaders including Allama Muhammad Ali Johar,
Syed Hassan Ali Naqvi and Mazhar Abbass Jaffery have signed a letter saying that
offering separate prayers was basic right of Shia students. Daily times