ISLAMABAD: Police on Friday arrested 16 students of the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) after a clash between two groups left one student dead and scores of others injured on the campus on Thursday night.

The arrested students were produced in the court of a civil judge who gave them in police custody on a four-day physical remand, sources in the capital administration and police told Dawn.

They said the arrested students were affiliated with different student councils.

The hostels were gotten vacated on Friday and a three-day holiday was announced by the university administration.

Police were deployed in and around the university to maintain peace.

Combing operation will be conducted in hostels, says university admin

The clash erupted over holding of an event in the university.

On Thursday evening, one of the groups organising the event beat and injured the president and members of the other group. Later, the aggrieved group attacked the concluding ceremony of the event during which a student was killed and several others were injured. Both the groups used weapons against each other, said sources.

A case has been registered against the group, comprising a number of student councils, under section 302, 324, 148 and 149 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), in response to a complaint lodged by a student.

According to the FIR, a three-day ‘Mega Educational Expo’ was organised at the university and during its concluding ceremony a group, comprising various student councils, attacked the participants at around 8:40pm.

The attackers were armed with weapons, bottles, iron rods and batons.

A team from the capital administration, comprising Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat and assistant commissioners, conducted a preliminary inquiry into the incident.

According to the findings of the preliminary inquiry shared with Dawn by sources in the district administration, the group that organised the event was affiliated with a politico-religious party.

The university administration had issued a no-objection certificate (NOC) to the group to organise the three-day expo.

On Thursday evening, the councils staged a protest against the university administration and their rival group.

The protesters claimed that issuing NOC to the politico-religious group was unjust as the same was denied to them. Besides, outsiders also came to the university to attend the event.

The sources said so far a case had been registered against students affiliated with the councils as a complaint was lodged against them. They said if the councils lodged a complaint, a cross FIR will be registered against the other group.

Combing operation in hostels

The IIUI management at a meeting on Friday decided to launch a combing operation in the hostels.

Chaired by IIUI Rector Dr Masoom Yasinzai and President Dr Ahmed Yousif Al-Draiweesh, the meeting was also attended by vice presidents, deans, directors general, student advisers, provosts and other officials.

According to a spokesperson of the IIUI, it was decided that a ‘combing operation’ will be launched with the help of the Ministry of Interior and its subordinate offices in the university hostels.

Strict action will be taken against illegal and unconcerned elements staying in the hostels, it said.

The meeting also discussed the issue pertaining to entry of outsiders into the premises of the university which caused the untoward incident on Thursday.

The rector and president constituted a committee with a direction to submit a report on the incident within two days.

The IIUI president said hindrances in the peaceful environment of the university will be dealt with strict measures.

Student unions

Former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani, during the launch of his book, said in the absence of student unions, incidents like the one that took place in the IIUI were taking place on campuses.

In reply to a question, he said the Senate had taken up the matter in 2017 and its committee of the whole had passed a resolution calling for the restoration of student unions, terming it a constitutional right.

“Currently, there are no unions but incidents of clashes are taking place in universities,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2019