ISLAMABAD -  The Senate Committee of the Whole Tuesday adopted a resolution asking for the revival of student unions in educational institutes across the country that would be presented before the Senate on Wednesday (today) for final approval.

Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani, while chairing the Committee of the Whole, which was summoned to debate the issue of revival of student unions particularly in the colleges and the universities across the country, said that the draft resolution would be presented before the Upper House on Wednesday.

The student unions had faced ban during dictatorial regime of Gen Ziaul Haq and later Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto revived these in 1988.

However, the Supreme Court imposed a ban on unions in 1993 on the grounds that they contribute to violence on campuses.

“The student unions provide a platform for students to engage in social and educational activities and defend their rights at the same time,” says the resolution.

While referring to the Supreme Court order regarding ban on student unions, the resolution said that reviving student unions would not be a violation of the apex court orders because the constitution gave everyone the right to form associations.

The committee also deliberated upon how to deal with the Supreme Court judgment, which had put a ban on the functioning of student unions.

Earlier, the lawmakers while taking part in the discussion viewed that student unions had a history of struggle for the revival of democracy during dictatorial regimes in the past.

They stressed that the federal and provincial governments must ensure a weapon-free policy on campuses and maintain a code of conduct to be followed by unions to avoid culture of violence.

They also asked for banning the entry of outsiders on campuses.

Some of the legislators said that had the unions been there, the incident of murder of Mashal Khan at the hands of a mob at Abdul Wali Khan University would have been avoided.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman asked for a clear instruction of keeping campuses and unions de-weaponised.

Senator Mohsin Leghari said that one way of dealing with restoring ban on student unions could be to file a review in the light of the judgment.

The Senate chairman endorsed the suggestions of the senators and said that student unions provided a platform to the poor and middle classes to enter national-level politics.

“These must be revived,” he said.

Rabbani said that the parliament as an independent state institution should not look towards approaching the apex court in the form of a review. 

This resolution will act as a recommendation to the federal and provincial governments which can then review the recommendations and take appropriate measures, he said.