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IJT openly recruiting freshmen at PU

LAHORE, Oct 29: The Islami Jamiat Talaba's campaign to recruit freshmen at Punjab University is at its peak even though political activity is banned on campus.

PU authorities have called the recruitment drive part of 'student activity', which is not banned. The IJT has arranged welcome parties at the department level and has also distributed books amongst students. They have displayed large banners with welcome quotes and traditional slogans at various locations on campus. The IJT has also set up committees in all departments and has tasked them with running its agenda.

PU Registrar Dr Naeem Ahmad Khan said that he did not think IJT's advertisement campaigns and other activities were illegal. He said, "There is no ban on student organisations or activity." He said the environment on campus was peaceful and no IJT student was involved in political or illegal activity. He said the university provides equal opportunity to all students to take part in extra-curricular activities.

A PU teacher alleged the university's policy on the IJT had changed after the appointment of Dr Arif Butt as acting vice chancellor. He said Dr Butt had a soft corner for the IJT, as he had been an activist during his college days.

He said Dr Butt had met reporters a couple of days ago and had told them that student unions and teachers should be encouraged on campus and that he had not restricted any student welfare union or teacher welfare organisation to operate. "Everyone will work under the guidance of teachers," he quoted Dr Butt as saying.

He said Dr Butt had also expressed support for the IJT to set up its annual book fair, which the former vice chancellor Lt Gen (r) Arshad Mehmood had banned.

Separately, freshmen on campus denounced the sponsors of the IJT's recruitment drive.

Naveed Hussain, enrolled in the masters programme at the Political Science Department, alleged that Dogar Publishers supported the IJT and in return the IJT made students use books published by Dogar. He alleged that, "This is happening where the IJT is strong."

He also alleged that several university teachers regularly provided funds to the IJT and in return the IJT worked for them.

Hafiz Usman, another PU student, alleged that soft drink company Shandy Cola was a big IJT sponsor. He said the company provided the IJT with drinks at all its meetings. He said the IJT had banned on campus soft drinks produced by multinational companies and had allowed only Shandy Cola. "This drink in unhygienic and a health risk," he added.

IJT information secretary Kashif Arif said the organisation was working for the rights of students and were hosting welcome parties for them. He said the IJT had already hosted a few welcome parties for freshmen and had used its own funds. He said Dogar Publishers wanted publicity and that was why they were sponsoring the IJT. Daily Times

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