By Ehsan Ansari, Muhammad Atif and Sonia Shehzad
Protests have broken out at a number of universities
Quaid-i-Azam University, Punjab University and varsities in Sindh, including Karachi University, are facing protests as the administration, teachers and students bring up demands.
At QAU in Islamabad, permanent teachers and syndicate members are protesting against the vice-chancellor. Some teachers were asked to leave and some others were demoted. VC Dr Javed Ashraf says these teachers were not “eligible” for the job. This prompted staff to demand he resign over what they said was ignoring merit and playing favourites. The faculty strike has been going on for six weeks.
At Punjab University, Baloch and Pashtun students have been sitting outside the VC’s office for a week. They want expulsions of fellow students to be withdrawn. Clashes with a religious party’s student wing were followed by arrests and expulsions of some Baloch and Pashtun students.
Universities in Sindh, including University of Karachi, are observing a Black Day today. Teacher unions gave the call as they have been protesting against Sindh government’s amendment to the 1973 Universities Act. They say the amendment gives too many powers to the CM to interfere in university affairs. They want it withdrawn.
Where are the students?
Permanent contract teachers are not holding classes at QAU. Visiting faculty is still conducting some classes. Students who take the university buses are not coming for classes. Only those living in the hostels are attending visiting faculty classes.
At Punjab University, protesting students are not going to class until their demands are met. Some students expressed solidarity with the teachers at Karachi University by joining them.