Campus violence resurfaces with a vengence
Karachi, Sept 15, 2007: Thursday's gory incident of firing on a minibus near the
University of Karachi in which five KU students and two passengers lost their
lives indicates that wars between student wings of different political parties
have been re-ignited while the government continues to be silent spectator.
This is not the first time students have been attacked or shot by one
party or another but the manner, location and ferocity of Thursday's attack has
left many wondering whether violence on campuses will increase in the coming
weeks and how safe will these seats of learning be for young men and women in
the days that come. Many parents are having second thoughts about letting their
children go to the university campus in the coming weeks or so.
Thursday's incident was perhaps the most tragic of its kind in the
renewed chapter of violence among student organizations, observers said on
What stands out is the lack of accountability of the Rangers
force on campus and the indifference of the government to deal with the problem.
Security experts have highlighted the utter failure of the authorities in
curbing clashes and violent incidents in and around the educational
institutions. It may be noted that clashes among student organisations had been
occurring for the past many years, as student wings of various political
organisations have made universities and colleges their battle ground. In the
past, they have forcibly occupied hostels and disrupted classes in the
institutions. It may be recalled that following a particularly brutal incident
in 1989, the government had deployed Rangers to control the ugly situation.
With the arrival of the Rangers on the university campus and their
strict checking of students to contain the proliferation of weapons, activists
of various student organisations used sticks, rods, fists and stones to settle
matters during their clashes. However, of late, they have been using
sophisticated weapons to establish their might over rivals. The situation has
turned dangerous as it seems that the Rangers have been unable to contain the
proliferation of arms of the violence it breeds.
In the KU and in some
government colleges, it was found that several portions of the buildings were
taken over by various student wings of political organizations, which continue
to challenge each other on their campuses. Some of senior faculty members raise
questions as to why the government was not taking these clashes seriously and
not passing any law to vacate colleges from these organizations, as educational
institutions are meant to groom future generations. Many KU students said that
after Thursday's incident, they were frightened.
It may be mentioned
here that the last month, a clash at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre
(JPMC) had disrupted the functioning of this major government hospital, when the
staffers, patients and visitors at the hospital had to run helter-skelter to
save their lives. In the clash, Hafiz Abdul Rehman, 24, IJT Nazim of College of
Physiotherapy, succumbed to injuries after being attacked by rival student
organization members. Another activist Farhan Ahmed Butt also fell victim to the
violence some weeks back.
Later, the police launched a crackdown against
the students involved in the clash and made several arrests. However, on
September 12, it was reported that a clash erupted between the All-Pakistan
Muttahida Students Organisation (APMSO) and the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) in
the limits of KU, which left some eight students injured at the university. Five
of them were said to be from APMSO and three from IJT.
It was a fateful
evening for the KU students on September 13 when some unidentified miscreants
threw a hand grenade and sprayed bullets at a mini bus of route G-7 near the
university, which resulted into the death of five students of whom Imran Shahid,
Ghulam Siddiq and Atif Butt belonged to IJT, while Habibullah r/o Gilgit was
affiliated with ISO and the fifth deceased student was identified as Sarfaraz
Keryo. The incident also claimed the lives of two passengers. Mobina Town police
station lodged an FIR on the complaint of bus driver Ali Jan against
unidentified nine criminals riding three motorcycles under the sections
pertaining to murder, attempt to murder and Explosives Act.
were identified in the FIR as Ghulam Hussain, Habibullah, Imran Shahid, Syed
Atif Hussain, the son of an army major; Haji Ahmed, 50, Siddiq and Sarfaraz
Hussain Keryo. When contacted, Capital City Police Officer Azhar Ali Farooqi
said that a three-member inquiry committee was being constituted under the
supervision of DIG East Zone Mir Zubair, with SSP Javed Mehr and SP Gulshan Town
Noman Siddiqi as its members. The News
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