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Separate prayers demand: Six expelled from PU hostels

LAHORE, Aug 20: The Punjab University (PU) on Saturday expelled six Shia students from hostels who according to the PU administration were allegedly demanding separate prayer arrangements on the campus.
A deadline given by a Jamat-e-Islami (JI) leader regarding permission to offer prayers separately will end today. Shia students in a meeting on Sunday said that they would decide their strategy after their meeting with the PU vice chancellor on Tuesday.
According to a notice issued by the PU Hall Council, 6 expelled students included Hailey College students Bilal Jeffery, Syed Hakim, Muhammad Yaqoob, Abul Hassan, History Department student Zaman Hussain and Micro Electronics Department student Muhammad Zafrullah Kazmi.
PU registrar Dr Naeem Khan said that the PU was a public sector university and it was not a GHQ. He said the university could not expel students without any reason. He said PU authorities would probe the matter and no students would be treated on religious grounds.
PU Hall Council chairman Azhar Ikram said, "We will not allow Shia students to offer their prayers separately behind their own prayer leaders in hostel mosques." He said the expelled students were trying to start a Shia-Sunni clash. He said the PU administration had already warned Shia students not to offer their prayers under separate prayer leader. "We have forwarded the expulsion case to the PU academic officials." He said. "No matter if the PU academic bodies will allow Shia students to offer their prayers separately, we won't allow them."
Imamia Students Organisation leader Mumtaz Ahmed Malik said, "We will bring the expulsion issue in front of the PU VC." He said Shia students across the country would start protest demonstrations. He said the organisation had chalked out a strategy regarding a country-wise protest.
PU Shia students had stopped to offer their prayers on roads a week ago after a meeting between ISO and JI leaders. The meeting had decided that after a week Shia students would be allowed to offer their prayers separately in PU mosques.
ISO spokesman Syed Farhan said the PU Hall Council was under the stranglehold of Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT). He said the PU registrar had allowed student to offer their prayers according to their faith, but a group of teachers belonging to IJT were not willing to allow Shia students to offer their prayers. He said these teachers were of the view that it could challenge writ of IJT on campus.
A Shia student doing her MPhil said, "We are forced not to show our identity as the PU administration can be harsh on us." She said IJT had been promoting its agenda not only in boys' hostels but in girls' hostels too. She blamed the hostel authorities for supporting IJT. Daily times
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