ISLAMABAD: The administration of the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), district administration and police began searching hostels on Sunday after an armed clash between two student groups left one person dead and around 16 others injured.
The operation will reportedly continue for the next few days, as the university announced on Sunday that it will remain closed until tomorrow (Tuesday).
Dawn spoke to a number of sources within the university’s administration, faculty and student body. The sources said that of seven hostels, hostels five and six were cleared by a team on Sunday.
“According to the details, the university will launch a clearance operation in men’s hostels so that illegal boarders and unconcerned residents can be identified and action can be taken against them,” IIUI spokesperson Nasir Fardi said.
Search likely to continue for next few days as university will be closed until tomorrow, sources say
Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat also told Dawn on Sunday that a search operation was ongoing.
“We have been extending full support to IIUI. After completing the combing operation, if the university decides to open, we will also provide security cover to them,” he said.
A student was killed during armed violence between two student groups on Thursday. Sources said the clash was between two student groups, the Islamians United Students Front (IUSF) and the Jamiat-i-Talaba, the student wing of Jamaat-i-Islami, over the participation of women in an education expo organised by Jamiat.
The IUSF comprises the Pakhtun Council, Seraiki Council, Gilgit-Baltistan Council, Baloch Council, Sindh Council and Punjab Council.
Sources said that Jamiat has been a strong student wing at IIUI for decades, but the IUSF has been making inroads in the last year or so. The IUSF was established at IIUI on the pattern of Quaid-i-Azam University, which has strong student councils.
Sources said that IUSF students opposed Jamiat’s move to reserve the last day of their expo for women, arguing that Jamiat had opposed other events on campus in which women participated, but was allowing them to attend its own expo.
They said that the IUSF also objected to the administration facilitating Jamiat in extending the expo for a third day and denying the IUSF permission to hold a cultural event on campus.
The sources said that the expo was initially allowed for two days, but extended for a third with the participation of female students. The university’s students adviser spoke against the extension, they said, but the IIUI administration did not pay heed to his concerns.
They also said that the IIUI’s administration had failed to prevent Thursday’s violence, which was preceded a few hours earlier by a smaller clash between both groups at the canteen. The IIUI’s management allegedly did not take that scuffle seriously.
The sources claimed that some elements in the IIUI administration had been promoting their chosen student groups. However, an IIUI spokesperson said there were no favoured student groups at the university, and the administration treats all groups equally.
He said the offices of IIUI President Dr Ahmed Yousif Al-Draiweesh and Rector Dr Masoom Yasinzai were on the same page and were working for the betterment of IIUI.
Sources said that all the university hostels have already been vacated by students other than Kuwait Hostel, which is located near the old Faisal Mosque campus, where students are still living.
Published in Dawn, December 16th, 2019