KARACHI: The 2014 convocation ceremony of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi on Saturday was marred by President Mamnoon Hussain’s security guards who denied several passing-out students, their parents and other guests entry to the convocation marquee.
“Please sir, let me in, I am to receive my degree,” pleaded Tanvir Moin, who graduated in June and was to receive his degree on Saturday, with the special service man wearing his dark glasses over his head and eating biryani on the other side of the shut gates.
“Please, my parents are also here with me. They wanted to see their son graduate today. Please don’t deny them this right,” the boy begged.
“You are late, kid. You think you are a VIP that I should open the gates for you? The real VIP, the chief guest President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain is in. Now scram!” yelled the biryani-eating special service man as the youngster watched him fighting back tears.
“Move away from the gates! Why are you even paying attention to them?” the special service man ordered the policemen and guards along with IBA’s own security staff who helplessly watched people requesting entry to the convocation.
“It wasn’t conveyed to me that we had to arrive early. The email invite sent by IBA said 3.30pm so I arrived with my parents much before that but only to be turned away when we tried entering from the main gate after coming in through Karachi University’s gate no 2. We were told to come through KU’s back gate and after doing that we had to wait more in the campus bus until given clearance to move. And now we are stopped again at this gate,” explained the boy.
“We couldn’t have come here any earlier even if we tried,” complained another student, Sundas Badar, waiting outside the gates with her parents. “We live in Islamabad and came straight from the airport.”
A couple also hoping to be allowed entry said that their youngest son was graduating and already inside the marquee. “We are doctors and I had to attend to a medical emergency so my husband waited for me. Then we came here together. My other two children also graduated from the IBA but we never had to face such a problem,” complained the mother of a passing-out student.
“The president is an IBA alumnus. He, too, must have felt proud receiving his degree with his parents watching in the past. Why is he denying us this right?” the father asked. But all efforts to persuade the special service people to let them through went in vain.
Several members of the media, too, complained that the security staff did not allow them in because the invitations were addressed to their bosses or editors. “Did IBA really expect my editor to come here and cover the convocation?” questioned a very angry reporter before returning to his office without covering the event.
Standing outside the campus to keep bags and mobile phones of those attending the convocation, the IBA staff politely asked the folks returning to forgive them, as their hands were tied with the president’s security personnel causing all the problem.
The president, who came in on a helicopter, also left the same way while the students and their parents had to walk the long distance back to their cars in the parking lot as the campus buses also didn’t return to pick them up.
Speaking to Dawn later about the unfortunate happenings, IBA dean and director Dr Ishrat Hussain said: “Yes, I am sad about the way the president’s security personnel harassed the guests. I shall complain about their rude behaviour to the president. They just took over security and didn’t let our own staff do anything.”
About students’ complaints, he said: “It’s unfortunate. But they have been awarded their degrees in absentia and they can take them from the IBA later.
“Still, we had more than 1,000 people inside so only a few latecomers got unlucky,” he added.
To the media persons, Dr Hussain said he apologised for how they had been treated. He said: “I had personally requested to allow the media in, as they are our friends and are always welcome here, but I was overruled by the special service men for which I’m sorry.”
Published in Dawn December 7th , 2014