KARACHI: Nine more students were injured in a brawl between All Pakistan Muttahida Students Organisation (APMSO) and the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) on Monday.
Despite a heavy presence of Rangers personnel – as compared to the usual number, inside the campus, APMSO and IJT activists attacked each other with batons and stones inside the premises of the university, just in front of the Arts Lobby around noon.
As the activists raised their traditional war whoops, most of the students left classes to find a secure place. However, few of them stopped to take in what was happening and even took pictures and videos with their mobile phones.
However the Rangers men managed to get the situation under control after a few minutes. They also took at least 10 students – one from IJT and nine from the APMSO, into custody. But all of them were later released without any legal action. Classes were suspended first in the Arts faculty and then in the entire campus.
The clash was a continuation of an earlier dispute between the parties. A member of the IJT was kidnapped on Friday and found near midnight in critical condition because, according to IJT, he had been tortured by three APMSO students.
The situation in KU was tense since Friday and a clash was anticipated. The APMSO said that the IJT stopped a birthday celebration in the geography department while the IJT denied the charge and claimed that APMSO activists beat their members up in the central library, which led to the clash on Friday evening.
Later on the Friday night, an activist of the IJT, Saleem Akhtar, was subjected to torture after being kidnapped from the university gate. According to the Station House Officer of Mubina Town police station, Khan Muhamamd Sheikh, the IJT on Saturday had registered an FIR implicating five APMSO activists for kidnapping and attempt to murder. However, later on Saturday, the APMSO had also registered an FIR against IJT activists with same charges, he said.
However the APMSO officials said that they were ‘attacked’ and their members were drawn out form the classes by the IJT’s ‘thunder squad’ and then beaten up. They alleged that both the Rangers and the university administration were biased and favoured the other party. “They are supporting this religious extremist group [IJT],” he said, adding that the APMSO wants to save the educational institutions from being ‘Talibanized.’ According to the official, five APMSO activists Ali Raza, Zohaib, Umair, Najid Samdhani and Ahmed Iftikhar were critically injured and were taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2012.