Punjab University’s (PU) to cancel degree of Husnain Jameel is a shameful action. Hasnain Jameel, an MPhil Student in Political Science department, has indeed committed a grave offence by raising his voice for students’ rights. He is challenging the status quo. And how can the believers in the status quo accept a rebel soul? Thus, came the decision from the administration. Cancelling his degree was not enough. The administration has also barred his entry to the university premises.

Clearly, by cancelling the degree of Mr Jameel, varsity’s administration wants to send a clear-cut message to those who will participate in the Student Solidarity March that those who are not content with the status quo will be dealt in the same manner. And it’s not just PU that wants to restrict its students from participating in the solidarity demonstration that will happen on 29th November across the country.

Anticipating students’ participation in the march, the Governor’s Secretariate in Quetta has also issued a notice to University of Balochistan (UoB) that orders the admin staff to stop all political activities and such gatherings on the campus. The reason behind the said notification is to gag students’ voices that will take up the surveillance scandal and criticise the government for its inaction. Unfortunately, academic institutions are relying on totalitarian tactics to stop students from holding a peaceful demonstration that is their constitutional right.

Some questions are worth asking. Given that the demands that the students will make in the march are pretty straightforward and decent ones, why are the universities panicking? Are the administrations afraid that demonstrations like these can reduce their power on the affairs of universities? The answer to this question is clearly yes. Do the administrations fear the demand for accountability that the marchers will make? Undoubtedly. Now that the students want a culture of accountability to take roots on campuses, why is the state, then, not lifting the ban on student unions? The incumbent government has time and again lamented the lack of accountability in the institutions of the country. Why does it not start that with lifting the ban on student unions?

Probably, the incumbent government will also try to ignore the students’ rights. The reason is clear and straightforward: every government, whether a dictatorial or elected one, fears the energies of the youth. What else can one say but this: the display of intolerance by the universities and the state will foster a generation that will be highly intolerant to dissent?