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KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Friday legislated to reinstate students unions but criminalise the weaponisation of educational institutions, thus, making Sindh the first province to lift ban on political activities at academia.

The house voted unanimously to the Sindh Students Unions Bill 2019, which Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah called a historic day to invalidate the ban on such organisations placed in 1984 during former military dictator, Gen Ziaul Haq’s rule.

Legislators rattled the house with high-pitch chants to celebrate the legislation that will allow students to resume their political activities at the educational institutions. But the law also criminalises weaponisation and violence at academia.

Calling the legislation a historic ‘event’, Syed Murad Ali Shah hoped: “It will help grow a positive environment in the academic institutions.” He assured the legislature that the students unions will not resort to hatred and incitements.

The opposition parties including the PTI, MQM and GDA also voted and supported the bill. The house was informed that the students unions are being restored through a bill in the Sindh Assembly to remove a ban imposed during Gen Ziaul Haq’s rule in 1984.

The legislature was told that the Sindh government will make guidelines for the students’ organisations in two months. The law also says that boycotting of classes, display of weapons, anti-educational and unconstitutional activities, hindering of administrative and academic system and manifestation of hatred by students unions will be an act of crime.

Students unions will hold elections on a yearly basis. The elected representatives will have a place in the universities senate and syndicate. The unions will also be responsible to ensure upholding of teachers respect, besides high standards of education and social activities at the top academia.

Students unions representation will also be made at the academia’s harassment committee as well. The unions will be established in all state-run and private sector universities, colleges and vocational institutions in the province.

The law makes it clear that a legal action will be taken if anyone hinders academic or administrative activities, boycotting classes or resorting to strike.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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