A group of Punjab University students block traffic on the road after a clash on the campus. — White star
A group of Punjab University students block traffic on the road after a clash on the campus. — White star

LAHORE: Up to 18 people, including 10 security guards, were injured when two student groups clashed with each other outside the Sociology Department at the Punjab University (PU) on Friday.

The clash prompted the PU administration to launch an operation in the hostels. Iqbal Town Division Superintend of Police retired Capt Mohammad Ajmal told Dawn the police launched crackdown and rounded up 12 students from both organizations involved in the clashes.

He said a case had also been registered against them on the complaint of the university’s management.

The violence erupted when activists of Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT) and Pakhtun Students Council started exchanging words at a canteen outside the Sociology Department. The brawl soon developed into a scuffle leaving Pakhtun Council Chairman Waqas Khan, Wasim Wazir, Sohail Dawar and Israr Baloch injured.

Security guards intervened and pacified the matter.

After a while, Pakhtun Council and Punjabi Council activists gathered at a canteen and started march on the vice-chancellor office when they spotted four IJT activists coming out of the mosque near Faisal Auditorium.

Pakhtun Council students thrashed and injured them critically. Security guards stepped in and tried to stop them and in doing so, six guards suffered head injuries.

The injured IJT activists were identified as Qadeer, Bilal, Arslan Sarfraz, and Arslan Manj.

Pakhtun Council activists later occupied the Campus Bridge and blocked it for traffic. A police contingent arrived at the bridge and dispersed them.

PU Register Prof Khalid Khan said that legal and administrative actions would be taken against the students involved in the violence. He said they would investigate the matter.

He said that recently PU improved its higher education ranking index and it might be possible that some hidden hands wanted to ruin the campus’s peaceful environment. He said he suspected that the elements wanted to impact PU’s QS Ranking which would be released in March.

Later, Muslim Town police registered a case against four nominated and 20 unidentified suspects. The nominated students were identified as Usama Butt, Anser Abbas, Shahzaib Arif and Imran.

The university administration held a press conference where PU Registrar Dr Muhammad Khalid Khan, Resident Officer-1 retired Col Omer Khalid, Chief Security Officer retired Col Ubaid Masood and other official were present.

The registrar said that around 12:45pm, a quarrel erupted among the activists of Pashtun Educational Development Movement (PEDM) and Islami Jamiat Tulaba activists near Sociology Department in which activists from both sides received injuries. After receiving information, the university security staff arrived at the spot instantly and also sent an alert to the police fearing another quarrel.

He said meanwhile they received information that PEDM and Punjabi Council activists were beating some students near Admin Block’s mosque. He said the university security staff rescued the students. However, he said, Punjabi Council and PEDM activists attacked the university guards and injured 10 of them. He said the guards tried their best to avoid any serious clash among student organisations.

PU Officers Welfare Association condemned the students involved in manhandling of Chief Security Officer Masood and security guards.

In a press statement, the association said the incident of vandalism could not be tolerated in the PU. They demanded the PU administration take strict action against the culprits.

Published in Dawn, February 29th, 2020

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