ISLAMABAD – A complete strike was observed at Quaid-i-Azam University on the call of Quaidian Students Federation (QSF), while about a hundred students demanding the restoration of 11 expelled students and resolution of long-standing issues affecting students went on hunger strike.

Classes could not held as the students locked the classrooms and blocked the roads, thus the university buses could not ply to pick up the students. In the afternoon about a hundred students went on hunger strike against the indifferent attitude of the administration as, according to them, no one from the administration visited them to listen to their issues.

The students regretted that they have filed an appeal in the Syndicate to review their punishment but the administration lingering on the issue and deliberately delayed the meetings of the Syndicate due to which they are going to loss a semester. Another student from Gender Studies Centre opined that, earlier, the students held two strikes also and it’s only hampering the educational activities of all the students. “The semester has almost ended and exams are going to started from next month but we have not finished our courses yet. The teachers will arrange make up classes till evening and even on off days to cover the courses which becomes quite hectic and problematic for the students, especially girls”.

The current unrest on the QAU campus began on April 27 when the students disrupted proceedings at an international social sciences conference, with some resorting to pelting stones at the conference venue. The administration shut down the campus and hostels for a week and expelled 11 students.

A five-member university disciplinary committee had decided to ban the entry of 11 involved students into hostels and the campus forever along with the imposition of fine Rs 20,000 on each student. The university has also registered FIR against the students and nominated 13 students in the FIR.

The students have appealed to Syndicate, the highest decision making body of the university, against the decision that has powers to decrease, increase or even quash their punishment but the body could not meet to decide the fate of the students.

The representatives of the teaching faculty negotiated with the students but they refused to call off strike. The protesting students maintained that they would continue their strike until the cases registered against them with the police and with the University Disciplinary Committee are withdrawn and various issues of basic facilities faced by them at the campus are resolved.

The Vice Chancellor of the University Dr. Masoom Yasinzai while talking to TheNation said the university had convened the Syndicate meeting on May 19 but the members due to the visits of the President and PM to Chicago and UK were not available for the meeting. Now the meeting has been called on June 2 again to discuss the issue.  

He mentioned that ‘even if the Syndicate meets it would not be beneficial for the students as far as this semester is concerned as they have short attendance due to their expulsion and for the last five weeks they have not attended classes and 80 percent attendance is required to attempt exams’.

He said the university administration has to establish its writ to run the university and for this he has held meetings with Chief Commissioner and IG and heavy contingent of police have been called and tomorrow university buses will run to pick up the students and classes will be held according to the schedule.    

Online adds: The students of the Quaid-e-Azam University Monday set up hunger strike camp for the first time in heart of the campus and vowed to continue it until acceptance of their demands. The students gathered in front of the general bus stand of the varsity on Sunday night and spend whole night under open sky. They interrupted flow of the varsity transport to make the strike successful.

When contacted a senior representative of the students told Online that all departments of the university remained closed due to great participation of the students in the protest. The male and female students with placards and banners chanted slogans against wrong doings of the so-called mal-administration. He said that no official of the university administration yet consulted the students for dialogue. “We are sitting here since Sunday night but the administration did not express any positive response to end the problems of students, “he added.

He stated that the students gone on hunger strike for the first time throughout the course of demonstrations and they would continue it till death.

He said that 11 expelled students including two female students should be reinstated immediately. He added that the students want a platform from where they could raise voice for collective issues of the students, whether those are administrative or academic.