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PMC Ahmedi students inconclusive rustication probe

Faisalabad, June 23, 2008: A high-level committee of the Punjab Medical College (PMC) constituted on the directives of the Punjab government is finding it difficult to probe into the expulsion of Ahmedi students after majority of Muslim students have refused to join the inquiry proceedings.

Only five Muslim students Nasim Akhtar, Umm-i-Habiba, Shahid Chaudhry, Ahtsham and Umer Farooq appeared before the committee consisting of Dr Farooq Mian, Dr Zahid Yasin, Dr Yousaf, Dr Zahid Iqbal and Dr Mohammad Ali. The committee was constituted following a visit of the health secretary on June 9.

Requesting anonymity, some committee members said that committee had been asked to probe into the matter so that innocent students could be restored and guilty punished. They were also 'told' to report that they had not found any evidence that Ahmedis had been preaching their belief.

They said the committee was also tasked to suggest punishment to only those students who had pasted posters and who removed them on charges of provocation and creating law and order situation on the campus.

They said following strict instructions, committee members had tried their level best to engage students to join the inquiry proceedings, but majority of them refused expressing their distrust on the probe committee.

They said students were of the view that the PMC academic council, which was supreme body of the college, after a through probe had unanimously approved the rustication of Ahmedi students.

They contended that the disciplinary committee had also registered statements of scores of students regarding the incident and came to the conclusion that Ahmedi students should be rusticated.

The committee members said they tried their level best to conclude the inquiry, but to no avail. They said the committee also called the Ahmedi students to help the inquiry committee ascertain facts.

Attaullah Qasmi, a student who had lodged complaint against the Ahmedi students which led to their rustication, said how a committee of five professors could be superior to the academic council which has the representation of all heads of departments of the college.

He said the students would never join any committee. "We want to go with the decision of the academic council," he said.

He said the committee had been trying to get their desired result by exerting pressure on students. The administration first disconnected water and power supply to boys hostels in order to budge them from their principled position, he added.

Sources said students' stiff stance towards the inquiry proceedings forced the administration to approach their parents, and they were literally threatened with dire consequences if their children continued sticking to their stance.

Qasmi said students protested over the treatment meted out to them and their parents and made it clear that hurling threats would not make them change their stance.

Inquiry committee head Dr Farooq Mian said that the committee was yet to dispatch its report to the provincial government. However, he declined to reveal any sort of inquiry proceeding. Dawn
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