5 injured at Punjab University as IJT halts cultural event

Updated March 21, 2017

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Police reached the campus and used tear gas to disperse the violent crowd.  —DawnNews screengrab
Police reached the campus and used tear gas to disperse the violent crowd. —DawnNews screengrab

At least five people were injured as students from the Islami Jamiat Taleba (IJT) allegedly gatecrashed a Pakhtun cultural event being held at Punjab University (PU), Lahore, police sources said.

IJT members allegedly tried to halt the proceedings, which resulted in a clash between students at the university, DawnNews reported.

Read More: IJT in Punjab University

Following the clash, police reached the campus and used tear gas to disperse the violent crowd.

The five injured have been shifted to Jinnah Hospital, police sources added.

"The cultural show was being held with the PU administration's permission, but IJT had issues with the activity being held so they tried to halt the proceedings," PML-N stalwart Rana Sanaullah told DawnNews

"Measures are being taken to make sure that the students involved in the disruption are held accountable," Sanaullah said.

"[Jamaat-i-Islami leader] Sirajul Haq talks about fighting terrorism, the National Action Plan and building a positive narrative on one hand, but his own people are involved in creating such disruptions on the other," the provincial lawmaker said.

Sanaullah further said the police had been asked to inquire from the PU administration about the people involved and file a case against those involved in violence.

'Will not tolerate attacks at unarmed students'

Nationalist and religious political parties termed the Punjab government equally responsible for the altercation at the university.

The Awami National Party’s Zmarak Khan Achakzai announced the launch of a protest movement.

"The Punjab government gave a free hand to the armed men of a religious party,” said Achakzai. He added that no negotiations would take place until the enrolment of students involved in the attack is revoked.

“We will not tolerate attacks on unarmed students,” said Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl’s Amir Zaman.

He added that his party would support every protest against the 'attack on Pakhtun students'.

Balochistan National Party’s Majeed Kakar referred to the incident as an “act of terror”.

History of intimidation

The IJT is a right-wing student body that often operates in university campuses across the country as the de facto moral police. IJT members have in the past objected to Valentine's Day celebrations and the playing of music at certain cultural events.

University administration officials have also complained to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif about the "Jamiat's negative activities on the university campus".