ISLAMABAD - The students of Quaid-I-Azam University (QAU) voiced their disquiet over various administrative issues at a demonstration Wednesday and demanded withdrawal of show-cause notices and FIR registered against them for damaging university property and injuring a security guard in a recent protest.

Nearly one hundred students under the banner of Quaidian Students Federation (QSF) gathered in front of National Press Club to protest against various issues faced by them at the campus and demanded of the administration to withdraw the cases registered against them with the police and with the University Disciplinary Committee. The university was shut down on April 27 till further orders and hostels for male students of MSc were also closed down after the violent protest by the students who were demanding better facilities and merit based opportunities for the students and the employees.

The students complained that FIR has been registered against 13 students and 25 students have been issued show-cause notices to appear before the University Disciplinary Committee when the hostels and university is closed.  They said the students who come from all the provinces on quota basis have gone back to their houses and cannot appear before the committee. They demanded from the university administration to conduct the inquiry after opening the hostels and university. 

They regretted that the sudden closure of hostels and university has troubled the students and they have been displaced as many could not go to their homes due to high fares.

The students raised slogans against the university administration and demanded the removal of Provost and Campus Manager Col (Retd) Nadeem.

The other demands of the students included abolition of policy of 10 per cent annual increase in university fee, increase in the number of university buses and hostel buildings, termination of a bus driver who allegedly murdered a student, Rashid Iqbal, provision of clean water in hostels and departments, improvement in internet service in hostels, provision of medical facility and increase in number of books in library and computers etc.

Addressing the protesters the students alleged that they were victimised for raising their voices against the malpractice of administration and for highlighting various issues at the campus. They maintained that on the day of protest they turned violent when a student was hit by the security guards and sustained severe injuries for protesting.

They complained that ‘the university has been charging Rs 1000 from each student for social sciences lab which does not exist and we don’t know where the funds have been going’. They also claimed that the university has started a programme of pharmacy and charging Rs. 70,000 from a student per semester but the programme has not been recognized by the Pharmacy Council. 

Alia Amirali, a visiting faculty member of the university, who also joined the protesters to show solidarity with them opined that the problems of the students were genuine and their demand to register student organization was also just but the modalities should also be set for their operations.

She said it is not unusual when they demand their representation in university statutory bodies as the students used to have representation in university bodies when the student unions were not banned.

According to information the UDC has taken the decision to expel 25 involved students in the rumpus along with the imposition of fine Rs. 20,000. Among them against whom the FIR has been registered would be expelled permanently and the rest would be rusticated for one year.

Meanwhile, the faculty members have also strongly condemned the manhandling of Dr Irfan Zia Qureshi, Associate Professor at Animal Sciences Department of QAU, at the hands of Campus Manager Col (Retd) Nadeem during the protest.  Dr Qureshi complained to Dr Masoom Yasinzai, Vice-Chancellor, on Friday that administration, hostel staffers and security people including its head were not performing and the rowdiness of students was being handled by faculty members.

Campus Manager soon after the VC was away caught the professor by neck and threatened that he would see him later and used abusive language in the presence of many people. A delegation of faculty member met the VC in his office where Dr Qureshi submitted a written complaint. The Dr Yasinzai apologized the harsh treatment meted out to Dr Qureshi by Col Nadeem and also formed a committee headed by Dr Eatzaz Ahmad, Dean of Social Sciences, to submit a report.