LAHORE: “Iqbal Town policemen kicked me out of the police station when I went to give a blanket and medicines to our five injured students,” complained Baloch Council’s executive member Sohail Baloch on Thursday.

“We came to Punjab University for study and our crime is that we do not follow ‘rules and regulations’ enforced by the Islami Jamiat Tulba (IJT).

“I pleaded before the police officials to allow me to give my ailing members medicines but the policemen [allegedly] abused me and threw me out,” he said.

Baloch said the clash erupted between the IJT and Pukhtun Educational Development Movement (PEDM) over [allegedly] detaining Pukhtun students in Islamia College Civil Lines. “Pukhtun Council contacted IJT Nazim Usama Naseer to release the students and he hurled threats and refused to release them.”

Sohail Baloch said the Pukhtun students called police and succeeded in getting their members released from Islamia College Civil Lines who later attacked the IJT activists busy in organising Pioneers Festival.

He claimed that it was a clash between IJT and Pukhtun Council students but the police and university administration had also arrested more than 40 Baloch Council and 20 Seraiki Council students from the hostels.

He said they did not know about the whereabouts of most of the students because police and university authorities were not cooperating with them. “I went to police station and also visited Kot Lakhpat and Camp jails but no one allowed me to meet the students.”

Salim Baloch, whose younger brother Noor Azeem is a student of Centre of Mountain Research at PU and was arrested by the police during operation, told Dawn that he left for Lahore from Balochistan two days ago when he came to know that his brother was taken into custody.

He said he was running pillar to post but no one from police and the university administration told him where they kept his brother.

Meanwhile, PU Vice Chancellor Zakeria Zakar instructed the administration to take measures to ensure fair and timely trial of the students found involved in the clashes.

Chairing a high-level meeting of various heads of administrative departments on Thursday, he also instructed to serve show-cause notices on the students in prison and lock-up through police officials concerned.

He directed the PU Disciplinary Committee to accord opportunity of personal hearing at jail and lock-up in consultation with the legal adviser.

Meanwhile, the police operation continued for the fourth day and the hostel administration and security officials removed offices of a student organisation set up at Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre Hostel and Hostel No 1. The administration also removed posters and insignias of student organisations from all hostels and underpasses.

The hostel administration has cancelled allotment of around 31 students involved in the incidents of violence. The luggage of the students has been shifted to storeroom.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2018