Organizers And Participants Of Student March Booked Under Sedition Charges


Organizers and participants of student march booked under sedition charges

Civil Lines police registered FIR against the organizers and participants for organizing a rally against the state institutions and chanting anti-Pakistan slogans.

LAHORE: (Urdu Point/Pakistan Point News-Dec 02, 2019) The students and teachers who organized ‘countrywide protests’ for restoration of Students’ unions were booked by local police under sedition charges here on Monday.

A Sub-Inspector namely Mohammad Nawaz lodged application with Civil Lines Police Station against the march organizers and stated that he was on patrol when he received information that a rally of around 300 people led by Ammar Ali Jan, Farooq Tariq, Iqbal Lala, Alamgir Wazir, Mohammad Shabbir and Kamil Khan was being taken out. He said that he reached Faisal Chowk on The Mall where the protesters were forcibly blocking the road to set up a stage to deliver speeches.

He also said in his complaint that the speakers at Faisal Chowk were chanting slogans and doing speeches against the state and its institutions. The sub-inspector said that he also recorded slogans on mobile phones and can also be checked through the cameras installed there, especially thorugh PPIC3 Cameras.

The persons who were nominated in the FIR included Ammar Ali Jan, Farooq Tariq, Iqbal Lala (father of Mashal Khan who was lynched over allegation of blasphemy in Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan), Alamgir Wazir (nephew of MNA and Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement leader Ali Wazir), Mohammad Shabbir and Kamil Khan, besides 250-300 unidentified participants.

Ammar Ali Jan, one of the accused who is also teaches at a local college, confirmed registration of the FIR against him and others for taking out march for restoration of students' unions.

On other hand, the ruling party PTI supported the stance of marchers and Prime Minister Imran Khan also announced on Sunday that a proper code of conduct would be made for restoration of students’ unions.

Through his twitter account, Prime Minister Imran Khan acknowledged the importance of students unions, saying that strong code of conduct was required for restoration of Students unions. He said they would make code of conduct in light of the practices at internationally recognized universities.

He tweeted: “We will establish a comprehensive & enforceable code of conduct, learning from the best practices in internationally renowned universities, so that we can restore & enable student unions to play their part in positively grooming our youth as future leaders of the country,”.

In another tweet, he wrote: “Universities groom future leaders of the country & student unions form an integral part of this grooming. Unfortunately, in Pakistan universities' student unions became violent battlegrounds & completely destroyed the intellectual atmosphere on campuses,”.

On Friday, like other parts of the country, students of different universities and their supporters staged protest demonstration in Lahore to press their demands, especially for the revival of students unions.

Following the traditional style of politics, the students of both public and private universities staged protest demonstrations by hiring a small container –a mini-truck and shouted at ban on students unions at universities. They had been holding banners and placards inscribed with the slogans against the social liberties and rights to speech and assembly, with particular focus on ban against their unions. The students demanded ban that was put three decades ago must be abolished. They also demanded that the budget cut of Higher education Commission should be restored. The students protestors also demanded the authorities to introduce proper mechanism to eliminate harassment at campus of the educational institutions.

The professors and lecturers of the educational institutions also took part in the student march for their demands.

Holding red color flags and chanting slogans for their rights, the students were seen very passionate and committed towards their ultimate goal of restoration of unions at educational institutions. Initially, they gathered at Nasser Bagh—a historic garden which is few yards away from National College of Arts—the college students of which came to fore to initiate this new move of revival in Lahore. From Nasser Bagh, the students marched towards Punjab Assembly where they continued their protest till late night.

“Jb jb laal lehray ga, tb hosh Thekhane aaye ga” , chanted a student as the rally began from Nasser Bagh to Punjab Assembly. Another student chanted a slogan that “Talaba and Mazdour Itehad Zindabad,”.

Females students, mostly from NCA and LUMS and FC College University took part in the protest. It was observed that the students of NCA and FC College were seen more passionate about restoration of unions at educational institutions across the country.

Besides the students of universities, many of their friends and youngsters also took part in the protest rally that remained most of the time at Mall road. According to the participants, the march was backed by Progressive Student Collective, Students Action Committee , Progressive Academic Collective and many other social and political organizations.

Fida Hussnain

Fida Hussnain is a lahore based journalist. He writes on politics, religion, social issues and climate change. He is also a research fellow at University of Gujrat.