LAHORE: Twenty-one male students of Punjab University (PU) – who belong to Islami Jamiat Talba (IJT) – were arrested on Monday, Express News reported.
The IJT is the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).
After students were cleared out of a hostel and some were arrested, agitated students reacted by snatching keys from drivers and blocking roads and underpasses near the university.
Police attempted to take them into custody, but the students hid in blocks in the university. Traffic has been cleared from some roads but others are still blocked despite police efforts.
Students also set a passenger bus on fire after dragging people out of it. Following this incident, the police made more arrests, with the total number apprehended rising to 21.
Jamiat members were protesting against a press conference held by the university in which the administration had alleged that members of the party had locked two teachers of the law college in classrooms on November 30.
The protest was held on a bridge connecting the university with the hostels. The agitated students had blocked traffic on the bridge.
A contingent of police officers arrested 13 boys and cleared out the university’s Hostel No 16, as it is considered a stronghold for Jamiat members.
Following the evacuation, a group of students started pelting stones and police arrested another four IJT members.
Police seized bottles of alcohol from the room of a Jamiat spokesperson, identified as Rao Adnan.
There are conflicting reports about whether the police arrived first, after which the students began protesting, or if they came in response to the students’ protest against the administration.
IJT students continued violent protests till late evening, blocking traffic and causing chaos on the streets of Lahore.
PU vice chancellor had accused IJT of harbouring militants in the university hostels.
However, Jamiat had refuted the claim and accused the VC of “trying to defame Jamiat” to hide his own inefficiency.
Early September, intelligence agencies had arrested Ahmed Sajjad, believed to have been the handler for a terrorist cell in Lahore, from PU Hostel No 1.
A senior serving intelligence agency officer had told The Express Tribune that JI has been directly and indirectly involved in providing accommodation to al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan.