NEWS DESK: Amid reports of arrests of ‘highly qualified terrorists’, Karachi University (KU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan refuted allegations that a terrorist network is running from the varsity.
He further clarified that no decisions regarding handing over students’ data to intelligence agencies and demanding character certificates have been taken.
Speaking at a press conference, Dr Khan stressed that the situation at the university is just like the rest of Pakistan, Sindh and Karachi.
“Provision of security is the job of law enforcers,” he said. “There is no terrorist wing in KU. We are standing by the side of law enforcement agencies but no decisions have been taken regarding handing over students’ data to intelligence agencies and demanding character certificates.”
Dr Khan asked why KU is unnecessarily highlighted.
Meanwhile, Senator Raza Rabbani also expressed reservations over providing Karachi University students’ data to intelligence agencies in a letter addressed to the varsity’s vice-chancellor on Wednesday. He further demanded that student unions be restored as per the resolution passed by the Senate of Pakistan.
In his letter, he also expressed reservations over demanding police character certificates from students prior to admission. “These two institutions [intelligence agencies and police] are the hard face of the state,” he wrote. “An interaction with them will further consolidate the anxiety and fear in the minds of the students.” According to him, immediate steps are required to address the issue of extremism and violence in the youth. He listed ‘a total review of the curriculum and implementation of the Senate of Pakistan’s Resolution on restoring students’ unions’ as the measures that will help curb extremism and violence. “Diverse literary and academic activity will produce a counter paradigm,” he stated.
Similarly, Khurram Ali, former central organizer of National Students Federation (NSF), Karachi, pointed out how the fact that the Ansarul Sharia terrorists are university students is still irrelevant. “The primary reason is that the network in question – triggering scrutiny of university students – was being run via religious institutions and activities in Gulzar-e-Hijri area,” he said. “Although Sarosh and other members were university students, which most of the urban youth are, they hardly attended the universities. So, it is more than evident that university culture or formal education is not responsible for their deeds. The only institutions that need scrutiny are the religious ones.”
According to him, universities, especially those in Sindh and Balochistan already resemble cantonments, impacting the psychology of students. “No short term solution could solve this menace,” he said. “Only re-opening of democratic institutions like student unions, youth and debating clubs, libraries and cultural centres along with strong mohalla [neighbourhood]-level political institutions could solve this problem. Otherwise, the lack of political space would force the youth to voice their opinions and concerns via such proscribed organizations and end up becoming their pawns.”
Story first published: 8th September 2017