Karachi University
University of Karachi. - File Photo

KARACHI: The security situation on Karachi University campus has been a major source of concern for its teachers and students for the last many years, but it has now become graver mainly because of the administration’s failure to control lawless elements reportedly operating with the active support of political parties.

The university administration has no clue to the whereabouts of its chief security officer for the past 15 days, who had been hired on a hefty salary a few months ago reportedly without any transparent procedure, according to sources.

Perturbed over the continued absence of the chief security officer, the KU registrar has recently issued a show-cause notice to the person in question. No response has yet been received.

Student activists go off scot-free

A number of incidents that have taken place over the past one week provide a glimpse into the sorry state of affairs on the campus — for the first time in the KU history a group of student activists stormed into a selection board meeting being attended by senior university staff, including the vice chancellor, and got it called off because their candidate got failed in the test and was not short-listed for an interview.

They also forced the entire staff of the administration block to shut down their offices. The university administration got under so much pressure after the incident that it postponed all selection boards meetings and hiring programmes scheduled in the week.

The campus security adviser also resigned the same day.

On Sunday, the university announced to rusticate two students and debarred another from the university on charges of kidnapping attempt and torture, respectively.

But it failed to take any step against the students who disrupted the selection board meeting. Reportedly the student group has the backing of a political party currently part of the ruling government set-up. Also, no relief was provided to an ad-hoc teacher who was beaten up by two students at the Islamic learning department.

Theft cases on the rise

Over the last one year, around 36 cases of theft, including that of equipment, vehicles, cash, cables and cellphones, have been reported on the campus.

The theft incidents occurred at departments as well in the residential area. Stolen equipment included solar panels from the microbiology department and computers from the pharmacy department.

Teachers who fell victim to robberies in their houses included Prof Dr Wasimuddin (statistics department), Prof Dr Mudassiruddin (pharmacy faculty), Shahnaz Qazi (Islamic learning department), Kulsoom Kazi (social work department), Prof Dr Zafar Iqbal (Urdu department) Dr Rahila Tabassum (zoology department) and Khalid Jamal (computer science department).

Teachers’ cars have been smashed and damaged in broad daylight in the campus parking area.

The lawlessness on the campus also relates to the unruly non-teaching staff who, according to teachers, has become a “mafia”.

“The non-teaching staff backed by political unions is a power within itself. You cannot say anything to them because they would simply refuse to work. The non-teaching staff at the microbiology department has not been working for almost a year because of a conflict with the department chairperson,” a teacher said.

Senior teachers hold the administration responsible for the whole mess on the campus.

They say that the administration has surrendered to the increasing political influences which have given way to massive corruption in the university affairs.

Speaking to Dawn, Prof Dr Nasiruddin Khan, KU pro vice chancellor and also the incharge of the university security, said that some disciplinary actions had already been taken while the vice chancellor had called a meeting on Monday to discuss a long-term strategy on security issues.

“We are planning to set up a committee with all stakeholders to evolve a long-term solution to security problems. A security plan would be made after the discussions,” he said, adding that the university would take strict action against all students involved in any offence.

Dr Khan admitted lapses in the security system and said often students were not punished because of their political backing. “I will recommend that the administration talks to political parties patronising student groups because only then we could find a lasting peace on the campus,” he said.