KARACHI: Karachi University (KU) employees discovered that their support for student organisations could end up biting them back, after one of their own was injured in a fight on campus on Wednesday.
All academic and official activities were halted when a large number of employees announced a boycott when one of their colleagues was injured in a clash between two student organisations, even though he had been a participant, not a bystander.
Hundreds of employees locked the offices and amassed in front of the administration block. Classes were forcefully closed.
Abdul Waheed, a grade-7 employee, was injured along with three student activists in a fight between the All Pakistan Muttahida Students Organisation (APMSO) and the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) near the university’s canteen area.
The protests ended by noon on Thursday after the university administration reassured the employees that it would take action against those involved in beating up one of their colleagues.
The IJT’s KU Information Secretary Maaz Bin Zia claimed that Waheed was with the APMSO activists who attacked two IJT activists, Usman Butt and Usama Mushtaq of the chemistry and mathematics departments respectively. This led to a clash between the groups.
Zia alleged that the employees affiliated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement allied with the APMSO in the clash. “They cry foul by making it a case of ‘students-beat-employees’ and practically take the university administration hostage by announcing boycotts,” he said.
Campus security adviser Prof. Dr Khalid Iraqi told The Express Tribune that Waheed and an APMSO activist Shahid, who studies at the general history department, were also injured during the fight.
The fight was reportedly sparked by a declamation contest organised by the IJT on Wednesday. Zia alleged that the APMSO didn’t take it well that a number of students participated in the event. The activists reportedly had an argument then which was resolved later by their senior members.
A spokesperson for the APMSO denied the group’s involvement. “This is a matter between the IJT and the employees and APMSO has nothing to do with it,” he said. However, he said that the debate competition organised by the IJT was on a controversial subject and did not get much traction from students because of the topic – ‘Pakistan barae farokht’ (Pakistan for sale).
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2012.