KARACHI: Fifty students led by some student leaders from all the universities across the province walked for four days to demand the revival of student unions.
Student unions were banned in Pakistan on February 9, 1984. The students began their rally from Kotri, reaching Karachi on Tuesday. Different groups, including the National Students Federation and Student Action Committee, welcomed the rallying students with rose petals and garlands upon reaching Karachi.
Shouting slogans such as 'Sada Haq Ithay Rakh [Give Us Our Rights]' and 'We Want Justice', the students walked on the road in protest to make their demands heard.
According to Arsalan Chandio, a student of Sindh University's information technology department who is leading the protest, students from Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Dawood University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, Liaquat University of Health and Medical Sciences, Jamshoro, Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering, Science and Technology, Nawabshah, Sindh University, Jamshoro, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET), Jamshoro, and many other institutes participated in the rally.
"We started walking in protest on [Friday,] February 10, and reached Karachi to mark our presence in the provincial capital after four days and nights of the walk," said Chandio, adding that they stopped and stayed for rest on four spots in all the four days - Bholari, Makli, Gharo and Ghagar Phatak.
The students in the rally were joined by many other students from the city in a show of solidarity for the cause. "We want the unions to be revived," said a student of MUET, Kamran Khan Jatoi. "Student bodies are our right, which were snatched from us years ago by a dictator. But the democratic governments also never thought about students."
Their demand is only to restore the student unions banned 33 years ago on February 9, 1984. "We want students to be allowed to fight for their rights," said Ali Inam, holding the banner to restore student unions while walking on University Road.
The students staged a protest at Karachi Press Club and demanded of the government to revive the unions within 15 days, otherwise students from all over the country will march to Islamabad.
"We will also approach the chief minister and Sindh governor to resolve these long-lasting issues for the betterment of students and their rights," said Chandio, adding that they will leave for their respective cities tonight via bus.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2017.