Senate's Functional Committee on Human Rights expressed concern on Thursday on the recent incidents in Punjab University involving violent clashes between the student groups and the arrest of a student on sedition charges, while stressing on the university administration and students to resolve these issues 'amicably'.
A few days back, the reports surfaced that the PU administration suspended nine students of the Punjabi Council and the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) for their alleged involvement in a clash. It also cancelled the hostel allotments of these students.
According to reports, the Punjabi Council activists were organising a rally on campus to welcome the newcomers late on November 26 when a group of IJT activists stared gathering outside a Punjab University hostel and chanted slogans. Both student groups clashed and resorted to aerial firing as a result of which five of them were injured.
Separately, the reports suggest police detained Alamgir Wazir, a former student of Punjab University and nephew of Member National Assembly (MNA) Ali Wazir, on sedition charges for allegedly organising Students Solidarity March, which demanded restoration of student unions and political activities at the educational institutions.
Taking stock of these developments concerning PU, the Senate committee shared its concerns on the reports that students are being harassed at the PU.
Committee Chairman Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar termed 'extremely unfortunate' the reports of harassment of the students at the hands of university administration. "We are aware that the government has its own viewpoint regarding students unions. We also support the fact that violence, hatred and any kind of negativity should not be allowed to flourish in the name of students politics. But curbing the rights of the students and harassing them on one pretext or other is not acceptable under any circumstances and it shall be resisted at every forum," he said.
Briefing the committee, PU's Vice Chancellor Niaz Ahmad said police arrested Wazir without taking into loop the university administration. "I heard about his arrest from the students," the VC said. The matter had been taken up with police and relevant authorities, he said.
He denied the allegations that the university administration was behind harassment of students. "I am a pro-democracy person and I encourage promoting democratic values at the university. You can confirm this fact from the students."
The committee lauded the step of the VC to increase the admission quota of students from Balochistan in the university, saying such measures would increase opportunities for students for less development areas to receive higher education.
The Senate panel stressed on the university administration and the students' representatives, who were present at the committee meeting, to come together to resolve their differences and agree on a framework for future to ensure that the students are fully entitled to their due rights while making sure that the university's rules were not violated.
The committee also took notice of heavy smog in parts of Punjab and recommended to the provincial and federal governments to take effective steps to counter smog as well as its hazardous effects on the health of the public.