Business Standard

Students in Pak hold rallies demanding restoration of their unions


Press Trust of India Islamabad
Thousands of students in 50 major cities in Pakistan held rallies on Friday demanding restoration of their unions and improvement in educational facilities.
The protest was termed as the Student Solidarity March and it was organized and led by the Student Action Committee (SAC) a representative body of different student groups.
The Progressive Students' Collective (PSC), representing the left-wing student group, in a series of tweets showed that the protest rallies were held at several places in 50 major cities of the country.
Big gathering of students was held in Karachi and Lahore which traditionally have been the magnet of students' activities.
At least 400 students gathered at Karachi Press Club where their leaders made speeches. Karachi's well known political activist, Jibran Nasir, also addressed the students.
I have come to support our country's future. Students are our future. We must realise that our future will never be bright if we keep on lighting monuments of the past, he said.
Reportedly, a transgender student of medicine also addressed, saying that she was protesting the lack of safety for females and transgenders on campus.
Lahore also witnessed big rallies that converged at Punjab Assembly and held a sit-in in support for the demand to allow political activities on the campuses.
A rally was also held in front the parliament in Islamabad, demanding that the restriction on student union should be lifted.
Similar rallies were held in the provincial capital of Peshawar and Quetta.
Meanwhile, different political leaders, including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, supported the students' demand to restore student unions.
The PPP has always supported student unions. The restoration of student unions by SMBB (Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto) was purposely undone to depoliticise society, he tweeted.
Federal Minister for Science Fawad Chaudhry also expressed support for restoration of student union.
I fully support Restoration of students' unions, ban on students' unions is anti-democratic, we can always ensure that students politics must remain violence free and regulations may be introduced for smooth functioning but ban on students politics amounts to limit future politics, he tweeted.
Groups like Progressive Students Federation (PSF), Sindhi Shagird Tehrik, Pakistan Trade Union Defence Council (PTDC) and Women Democratic Front also participated in the protest.
Student unions were banned in military dictator Ziaul Haq's rule in 1984. Though, efforts were made in 1990s by Benazir Bhutto to revive them but without any success.

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First Published: Nov 29 2019 | 11:10 PM IST

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