ISLAMABAD: A group of students expelled for disciplinary violations and their fellows kept the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) shut for the seventh consecutive day on Tuesday.
Not only have classes at the varsity been suspended for a week, most of the university’s administrative offices have also remained closed due to the student’s strike. As many as eight students had been expelled while 18 others had been rusticated for violent clashes at the campus on May 20. They are demanding that their punishment orders should be immediately withdrawn but the faculty and the university’s administration are not willing to show the students any leniency.
After several rounds of talks between the protesting students, the university management, and the district administration, the university management is now waiting for help from the ICT administration and government to restore academic activities in QAU.
“We are flexible and open to discussion on all demands by the students except their restoration. The faculty has also indicated that there should be no leniency [towards students expelled on disciplinary grounds],” said QAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Javed Ashraf.
Other demands of the students, including a call for building more hostels, increasing student buses, and registration of the QAU pharmacy department with the Pharmacy Council of Pakistan, have been accepted by the varsity. But the VC says these demands are a mere cover and the real aim for the protesting student leaders’ is to get themselves restored, explaining that the expelled students and some former students were driving the strike.
The vice-chancellor said the manner in which the crisis ends and academic activities are restored now rests with the civil administration.
“We have been in touch with the ICT administration. We do not have the capacity nor the strength to confront the protesters on our own. So the ball is now in the ICT administration’s court. We are waiting for advice from the administration,” said Prof Ashraf.
Meanwhile, Minister for Federal Education Balighur Rehman, who is pro-chancellor of the varsity, called on Prof Ashraf on Tuesday to discuss the situation surrounding the varsity’s closure.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2017.