Islamabad - The religious students union at International Islamic University (IIU) on Tuesday locked down the campus to protest a ‘cultural night’ taking place in the institution after a period of three years.

Accusing the university rector, Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, for promoting an ‘anti-Islamic’ activity in the university, the angry students locked the transport section causing problems for other students trying to reach the campus.

As a result, the university remained hostage at the hands of a few dozen students and attendance at the campus remained very thin.

An official informed The Nation that students from religious student unions had planned the protest since the beginning of the cultural week celebrations with the backing of the faculty members who are opposed to any musical event.

The official said that the cultural week included multiple activities where students and delegations from other Islamic world countries were invited but the ‘cultural night’ became a bone of contention between organisers and religious student unions.

“The cultural night was being organised on campus after three years and included a musical presentation of the regional cultures of Pakistan,” official said.

The official said that student unions and administration also held talks before holding the cultural night on Monday and the activity was strictly monitored by both sides to avoid any activity which goes against the traditions of IIU.

The official said that the university was initially going to cancel the event but the administration, refusing to act on the instructions of the hard-line religious groups at university, decided to hold it.

“The cultural night which was solely organised by male students included performances of traditional regional dances,” official said.

Soon after the event concluded, the student union members started objecting to it for being against  the culture of IIU.

“There was no reason for such a protest, two powerful offices at IIU are at loggerheads and backing their lobbies using university students to benefit from the crisis and hold each other responsible of the situation,” said the official.

Talking to The Nation, information secretary IIU Islami Jamit Talba, Rao Usama said that behind the curtain of cultural night, the administration tried to divide the university students on ethnic grounds.

 

Usama added that the university was completely shut down and academic activities were halted because of the protest.

He demanded that the responsible students and members of administration must be removed and expelled from the University. 

Spokesperson IIU Nasir Fareed talking to The Nation said that the students’ protest was unjustified because only the national anthems and traditional songs were played at cultural night.

He said that there was no anti-Islam element to the event as it was monitored by the administration itself.

He said that around 40 students were involved in the protest but no action has been taken against them yet.