Students warn protests to continue until demands met
"We want the management to first give classes on campus for a month and then take physical exams," said Tayyab, a student of Islamabad's National University of Modern Languages.
Students of the varsity took to the streets on Monday morning and protested outside the university's gate. They have a number of demands of which the main is not giving physical exams.
Earlier this week, NUML's management issued a notification stating that the university will hold the final exams for the Fall semester on campus after the government announced that varsities across the country will reopen on February 1.
"Throughout the semester we took classes online on the university's learning management system," Tayyab said on SAMAA TV's programme Naya Din on Tuesday. "In these months, the system crashed numerous times and the quality of the online classes was beyond worse."
He said that people think they are protesting to avoid exams. "That's not the case. Our demand is simple and justified."
Another mass communication student of the varsity, Manahil, said that when they talked to the university management, the rector categorically rejected their demand against on-campus exams.
"They are not prepared to even listen to us," she said.
Following this, students have announced to continue protests outside the university's gate on Tuesday as well. They have said that they won't leave unless their demands are met.
Due to the protests, a number of roads in Islamabad were blocked because of which traffic remained clogged. The metro bus service was also suspended.
On Monday evening, the police went to the protest site to negotiate with the protesters. "During the talks, they started beating the students and arrested some of them as well," Manahil told SAMAA TV.
Dear @dcislamabad we've seen you attend a rally by banned sectarian outfits held under police protection & facilitated by your admin but subjecting peaceful protesters like students & teachers to shelling, baton charge and arrests is becoming a norm #NUMLians_under_Police_torture pic.twitter.com/ijq3lrKXG2— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) January 18, 2021
"What was our fault that we were peacefully protesting?"
On the other hand, the police said that the students attacked them during the talks. The protesters were released later at night.
Some student rights organisations such as the Progressive Students' Federation have joined the protesters as well. They have warned that the protests and sit-ins will continue until their demands are met.
Varsities across the country moved their final exams on campus last week after the government announced that universities will reopen from February 1.
They said that the government is already reopening universities from February 1, so they might as well just delay the exam date and take the finals in person.