Universities in Pakistan provide a unique platform to students for challenging the much talked about status quo because due to their role of social reproduction in the society. Higher education is within the reach of a certain breed of students. The education system further assists a class divide among the rich and the poor, primarily serving the interests of the elite of our society. The society then succumbs to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. While a university helps in creating an elitist mindset in some, it also gives birth to a contradictory element in the society that wishes to invert dominant social norms.

The Communist Party of China used students to bring about social and economic changes in the country. Students helped eradicate discrimination against black people in the United States of America. Student protest and demonstrations won women the right to vote in Great Britain, a century back. Detaching students from politics would nurture ideas of individualism. Meanwhile, student unions appreciate and take into account not only oneself, but a wider picture of the complete society.

Educational institutes can not turn a blind eye towards social issues and continue to limit the attention of students to education. This, too, is education and an important step in the learning process. Due to restrictions on proactive communication and healthy debates on social and political issues, students are pushed away from the realities of everyday life and are attracted towards other extremes where they become part of radicalised student groups that breed violence.

Student agitation and formation of unions plays the role of a silently ticking timebomb that is fully capable of toppling state governments and forcing the government into revising its policies. In a society of scarcity, blemished by academic and educational constraints, student politics has the power to make or break.

The history behind student groups in our region dates back to the Pakistan Movement. Pioneer of student groups and politics, the Muslim Students Federation long-existed as the only established student union founded by the ruling party, Muslim League. The federation acted as an umbrella for students and young Muslims of the sub-continent that eventually played an important role for the Muslim League in their attempts of attaining a separate identity for Muslims.

The birth of Pakistan eventually led to the birth and growth of newly-found student groups. The gradual disintegration of the Muslim Students Federation paved way for the Democratic Students Federation. The new organisation acted as a platform for students to publicly express their educational concerns and voice political opinions. The federation gained quick popularity and support from colleges in Karachi through rallies and public demonstrations. What had initially begun as a platform for students to express their academic concerns soon turned into a growing organisation of political activists.

In their attempts of countering the Democratic Students Federation and its growing influence, the government created a pro-government student organisation called the National Students Federation. The newly created federation consisted of former Muslim Students Federation members and independent conservative students that supported the government.

The arrival of new political parties on the political scene laid the foundation stone of new student unions. Political parties viewed student organisations as cunning pawns that could be used and sacrificed at the correct time to strengthen themselves.

Student organisations in Pakistan have been exploited and misled into causing rifts and ethnic divides among the youth. Direct involvement of political parties led to a game of power politics that came at the cost of educational institutes. Student unions were formed, not for the welfare and progress of academic institutions, but to fight street battles.

It is not the existence of student organisations that needs to be questioned, but the involvement of political parties. Student unions breed leaders, not politicians. Had it not been for the scholars of Aligarh, Pakistan might still have been an unattainable dream. The difference between student unions and student wings of political parties needs to be identified since both types of organisations operate in completely opposite directions. Student unions are the epitome of the grassroot approach that needs to be adopted in all our provinces in order for a progressive leadership to rise.

The objectives are clear: to promote the representational, educational, social and general interests of the students of Pakistan in with regard to the policies of an institute. Unions act as stepping stones for students to lead the world in the near future by polishing their skills, making them aware of their responsibilities as citizens of Pakistan and cultivating their civil characteristics.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf could be accredited for their identification of constraints faced by the youth of Pakistan and their efforts of injecting young blood into a venomous political system, but the job is only half done. Despite handing out party tickets to fresh faces, the party has failed to achieve desired results and has led to the disappointment of the general public. The answer, a simple one. Young candidates failed to deliver despite getting elected due to little or no political experience prior to the general elections. Political experience that could be gained through student politics that lays a solid foundation.

Student wings of political parties nurture politicians, not leaders. Their focus is shifted towards the party and orders by the party, not the students that make up the federation. Therefore, by the time students enter mainstream politics through the gateway of political parties, they have already been trained into placing the party and its agenda ahead of the voice of students.