Rangers' role on universities

Rangers' role on campuses becomes controversial
Karachi, Feb 11: The deployment of Rangers at public sector universities has become a debatable issue among the teaching staff, students and external candidates, who regularly visit government-run institutions and find the Rangers personnel "uncooperative".

Rangers personnel were deputed at the public sector universities to tackle criminal activities and maintain law and order on the campuses after the student wings of various political parties kept clashing with their rival groups, causing frequent disruptions of academic activities.

Such a situation had badly affected classes, examination schedules and office work at the University of Karachi (KU) as well as at the Dawood College of Engineering and Technology, and Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology.

However, the Nadirshaw Eduljee Dinshaw (NED) University of Engineering and Technology managed to maintain academic atmosphere owing to the strong stance by its administration, thus enabling the students to complete their terms on time.

A senior professor at the KU Science Faculty says that if the university administration issues clear directions to the law enforcement agency then they would be bound to take action against the culprits found responsible for disrupting academic environment. "I personally feel that KU administration itself is unclear about what strategy needs to be adopted to handle the situation arising out of clashes between student groups."

He says that the Rangers are supposed to remain alert all the time and ensure law enforcement at the campus. "But, unfortunately, the Rangers are not performing their duty as they are required to. The Rangers are also deployed at the NED University but one could not object to their performance there, which implies that it is the difference in administrative skills and approach that generates the desired result," he added.

Similarly, a senior professor at the KU Faculty of Arts, who wished anonymity, pointed out that Rangers had seldom taken action on time. "They (the Rangers personnel) are not seen when trouble erupts at the campus." Recently, when some angry candidates, seeking admission, and their supporters created mayhem at various departments, tore apart the answer sheets of students taking up exams and threw them out of the examination halls, the Rangers where nowhere to stop these ruffians, he said, adding that such inaction by the personnel rather encouraged the rowdy elements who later broke open the locks of the Administration Block and entered there as like the vandals entering Rome.

Apart from this scenario, some first year students told this scribe that they were not yet issued KU identity cards due to which they had to face extreme hardships in entering the campus.

"It is up to the Rangers personnel and the KU security staff, a bunch of untrained, crude and ill-mannered staff, to allow or stop such students," commented a student. "We often miss morning classes for not being allowed to enter campus, however, we have approached our chairpersons to rescue us from this situation. We are still waiting for the results but it seems that our hardships are not going to end during the transition period of the incumbent vice chancellor."

When contacted, Deputy Superintendent Rangers Tariq said: "May be you cannot see what we have done". However, when he was asked to elaborate, he offered no comments, saying: "Talk to the KU administration". Similarly, Senior Security Officer, KU, Iftikhar Alam asked this scribe to talk to public relations officer since it was a policy matter.

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No classes at KU on Saturday and Monday
Karachi: The Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) on Friday resolved to suspend classes on Saturday and Monday (February 11 and 13) to protest against the suspension of University of Sindh's (SU) teachers.

It was resolved that all teachers would gather outside the administration block on Saturday and stage a rally to express solidarity with the SU faculty.

There has been no academic activity at the SU for over a month. Professor Basheer Ahmed Channar was gunned down by unidentified criminals on January 2. Consequently, the faculty and students launched a protest drive for the arrest of the murderers. Earlier this month, the government terminated two teachers and suspended some others for participating in the protests.

The universities across Sindh were observing a complete suspension of academic activities since Feb 7, KUTS office-bearers said. They asked the teachers community to attend the rally for the sake of justice.

Meanwhile, the newly-appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of Karachi (KU), Prof Dr Muhammad Qaiser, has pledged to improve the educational standard and the ranking of the university. He met the officials of the university on Friday after taking charge as VC. He is the 16th vice chancellor of the public-sector university. The new VC said that he would run the varsity in consultation with the faculty, staff and students. The news

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Classes remain suspended at five universities
Hyderabad: Academic activities in five universities in the province remained suspended for the second consecutive day on Friday, on a call given by the Sindh chapter of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAUASA). Classes were not held in the Sindh, Mehran, Agriculture, Shah Latif and Quaid-i-Awam universities.

Also on Friday "save education, save university" rally was held by teachers, students and employees and members of the civil society in support of vice-chancellor and against the boycott of classes.

The suspension of classes at the SU began last month when Students Affairs Director Prof Baheer Ahmed Channar was gunned down on the campus on Jan 2. Teachers and employees began a protest movement the following day demanding removal of Vice-Chancellor Dr Nazir A. Mughal, arrest of killers and setting up of a judicial commission to investigate murder, withdrawal of Rangers and police from the campus and restoration of student unions.

The protest was suspended following an agreement between the Sindh University Teachers' Association (SUTA) and the governor but only briefly.

Teachers and employees and some students of the Mehran University and the SU held a sit-in outside the Vice-Chancellor House on Friday for several hours.

Protesters raised slogans against the vice-chancellor Dr Nazir A.Mughal, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad and Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq, and employees joined the protest after first observing a token pen-down strike. Some teachers of the Karachi University visited the camp to express their solidarity.

President of the SUTA, Dr Azhar Ali Shah and General Secretary Dr Arfana Mallah and Ms Rabia Memon, Badar Soomro and Amar Sindhu said that scholars and philosophers like Allama I.I.Kazi and Shaikh Ayaz held the post of vice chancellors of the great alma mater which was now headed by Dr Nazir Mughal.

"One of the greatest educational institutions of Asia was being destroyed because of the indifferent attitude of rulers. The students wing of the PPP has made lives of teachers and employees miserable and its activists were forcing women teachers to take classes on gunpoint," they said.

The rally in support of the vice-chancellor started from the Institute of Sindhology and ended at the academic block of the university. Those who joined the rally included Director of the Institute of Sindhology Muhammad Qasim Maka and General Secretary of the Sindh University Officers Association Ghulam Nabi Kaka. They raised slogans against teachers and accused them of using use to stop academic activities.

The pro-VC group criticised their opponents and said that teachers who were against reforms introduced by the vice-chancellor were opposing him.

They asked why teachers drew their salaries of last month when they did not do their work.

The civil society requested the teachers time and again to take classes. They appealed to them to resume classes immediately to avoid further loss of students.

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Deans, directors and chairpersons of faculties and teaching institutes decided in a meeting to resume classes from Monday even if these were attended by just one single student. The meeting was presided over by Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr Parveen Shah.Heads of departments said that most of the teachers were willing to take classes but couldn't do so because of disturbances being created by agitating teachers.

JSSF: Activists of Jeay Sindh Students Federation observed a token hunger strike outside the Hyderabad press club in solidarity with SUTA.

Academic activities remained suspended at the Shah Abdul Latif University due to a boycott of classes by teachers in protest against the termination of service of SUTA president and general secretary.

Teachers' representatives Prof Asad Raza Abidi and Prof Imdad Chandio said they would continue their boycott till the restoration of Dr Shah and Dr Mallah.

Sources said that students residing in university hostels have started leaving for their homes. Our Shikarpur correspondent adds:

Activists of Jeay Sindh Students Federation took out a procession followed by a demonstration at Lakhi Gate Tower Chowk in protest against the termination of service Dr Shah and Dr Mallah.

Protesters threatened to launch a movement across Sindh if the teachers were not reinstated and Vice-Chancellor Dr Mughal not removed within a week. Dawn

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