LAHORE: Just a few days after a series of steps announced by the Punjab University to control the campus violence, the Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT) on Friday flouted the ban by taking out a rally on the varsity premises.
The student group declared it a “show of strength” against the opponents though the PU vice chancellor dismissed it as just a gathering after Friday prayers.
The PU administration had recently banned activities on campus by the student groups having links with any political party. The varsity took drastic measures in the wake of a clash between two student groups -- IJT and Pakhtun/Baloch organisation -- over holding a cultural show last week that left 10 students injured.
On Friday, a number of IJT activists gathered outside Jamia Mosque and marched on the Hailey and Law colleges. Although they did not hold any banner or placard and refrained from chanting slogans, one of the participants told Dawn that it was aimed at showing its strength. “Since the clash on March 21 took place with Pakhtun students, the students associated with the IJT are being targeted by the rival group on campus therefore we had to make our presence felt through this gathering,” he said.
The university administration called in police who held talks with the IJT activists after which the participants dispersed.
“The IJT today exposed administration’s weakness. The PU should have strictly implemented its ban on all political activities on campus,” an official said.
PU Vice-Chancellor Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir told Dawn that it was not a rally rather the students gathered outside the varsity mosque after Friday prayer. “Since none of the participants held any banner or chanted slogans, we cannot call it a rally.
However, officials and police were sent there to deal with the situation,” he said while denying perception about the administration’s leniency.
“The administration is strictly implementing its ban on political activities by any student group. We are carefully handling the situation as any harsh action can lead to violent reaction,” he said.
IJT spokesman Taimur Khan said it did not take out a rally but it was a “gathering of students”.
Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2017