LAHORE: Students of the Punjab University’s Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) on Tuesday protested against the varsity administration for ‘firing’ Assistant Prof Ammar Ali Jan.

A number of students including girls gathered outside their department and marched on the Institute of Business Administration (IBA). They were chanting slogans against the PU administration and carrying placards inscribed with demand to reinstate Mr Jan.

The students said they would not attend their classes until the administration restores Mr Jan.

“It’s rare for instructors to encourage students to ask questions and then take out time to engage with them with patience and love. Our instructor Ammar Jan changed that for us... He taught us theory but then he connected theoretical concepts with what is happening in our society,” said Manzar Abbas.

Razia Bibi, a student of 4th semester, condemned the move by the PU admin. “We are protesting today to demand the reinstatement of Dr Jan as well as other faculty members who were summarily fired by the PU administration.”

The university guards were making videos of the students addressing the crowd. The protesting students said such a move was threatening. Mr Jan was appointed an assistant professor in June 2017 on a contract. On April 13 last, he posted on his Facebook timeline that he went to attend the classes in the university and found his office locked. He said when he inquired about the issue, he was directed to approach the director of the institute.

He further stated that the director told him that his services were not required for the institute. Mr Jan said the institute had not paid him for his services and also fired him in a humiliating way.

Later, a number of academics launched an online signature campaign over cancellation of various events that were scheduled in the universities across Pakistan and the issue of the recent sacking of Dr Jan. As many as 150 academics including Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, signed the petition.

A PU spokesman said the students had taken out a rally for the reinstatement of Ammar Ali Jan at the cost of their classes. He said the institute’s administration had informed the protesting students that Mr Jan was a visiting teacher and failed to fulfill the requirements of contract.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2018

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