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PU Shia students pray outside press club again

LAHORE, Sep 2: The Punjab University (PU) Shia students on Saturday prayed asr (evening prayers) outside the Lahore Press Club as a protest saying that some PU teachers threatened and stopped them from individual prayers in PU hostels.

Shia students had submitted an application to the PU chancellor/Governor Khalid Maqbool in which they mentioned that some PU teachers were creating problems for them. They requested the chancellor to take action against those teachers and provide them with a separate place to offer their prayers.

Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) information secretary Mumtaz Malik said PU vice-chancellor (VC) Lt Gen (r) Arshad Mehmood in a meeting with PU teachers had decided that Shia students could pray in their own hostels. He said on the instructions of the VC, Shia students on Friday started praying individually in their own hostels. He said when Shia students had gone to hostel-4 for their prayers, the hostel authorities told them that Shia students would not be allowed to pray in hostels.

PU Hall Council chairman Azhar Akram said the authorities had not threatened Shia students. He said, "We allowed Shia students to pray individually."

On condition of anonymity, a PU teacher said no Shia student had been threatened and stopped from his/her prayers. He said in hostel-4 only 'outsiders' were stopped from prayers. He said the issue has been resolved, but some pro-IJT teachers were adding fuel to fire.

PU IJT nazim Muhammad Ayub said IJT workers were not putting hurdles in the way of Shia students separate prayers demand. He said, "We have offered Shia students that we are ready to pray behind them."

PU registrar Dr Naeem Ahmad Khan said he had held a meeting with Shia students regarding their separate prayers demand. He said Shia students had been demanding a separate place for prayers, but he convinced them that they (Shia students) were not a minority. He said the PU would provide security to Shia students and no teacher has the authority to stop anyone from saying his/her prayers according to his/her sect.

ISO spokesman Farhan Mehdi said IJT workers on Friday protested against Shia students and shouted slogans. He said, "Shia students want a peaceful solution of the issue." Daily times

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