Protest demonstrations over the low pass percentage in third-year examinations for doctors and dentists continued for the second day on Wednesday.
In Multan, a University of Health Sciences regional office was set on fire on Wednesday during a demonstration at Nishter Hospital premises.
Most of the computers, furniture and books as well as record was destroyed by the time fire fighters reached the scene and put out the fire. They said some of the protesting students at the entrance had refused to let them enter the premises. In the end the administration officials persuaded them to let the workers through.
The office had been unoccupied when protesters broke in and set it on fire as the UHS staff had gone to administer an exam for MBBS forth year students, a witness said. He said some protesters picked a lock and rushed into the building. They later vandalised the office, setting fire to papers, furniture and equipment, he added.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Peoples Students Federation office bearer Hassan Jiskani, who was present at the demonstration, rejected that any student was involved in the activity. He said students had demonstrated peacefully and dispersed before the UHS office was burned.
Jiskani said the protest would continue until the government gave them an assurance on upgrading the NMC to a university responsible for holding MBBS examinations in the region. He accused the UHS of discriminating against students from southern Punjab.
Student Affairs Director Haroon Pasha told The Tribune that a committee had been formed to fix responsibility for Wednesday’s incident. He said it appeared to have been an act of mischievous elements from outside who may have joined the protesters’ camp. “I had assured the students yesterday that their demands will be considered. The UHS had also formed a committee to address students’ grievances after Tuesday’s protest in front of the prime minister’ camp office,” he said. He said strict disciplinary action would be taken against any student was found involved in the vandalising of UHS office.
Protests have also been organised in Faisalabad since the announcement of MBBS third year results on Monday. The protesters have expressed shock at the low pass percentage and accused the UHS of faulty marking.
Of the 300 students who sat the exam from NMC, 110 were declared pass and 170 fail. Results of 20 candidates were withheld. The pass percentage for NMC was 48 percent.
‘Protest to last till re-marking promised’
Meanwhile, the Punjab Medical College (PMC) students continued their protest against MBBS third year results on the second day on Wednesday.
Dozens of protesters staged a sit-in at the PMC Chowk after boycotting their classes. They also chanted slogans against the UHS. They said more than 250 students had failed the exam which, they said, included some of the outstanding students at the college. They said the topics tested in the exam were not covered during their studies and alleged that these were included at the behest of some teachers of private medical colleges. The students said during a protest organised on the issue after the exam they were assured that such questions will not count towards their results. This assurance, they said, was not honoured when the results were announced on Monday. The protesters said demonstrations would continue until the UHS agreed to re-mark their exams.
With additional reporting from our correspondent.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2012.