DERA ISMAIL KHAN: In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s southern district of Dera Ismail Khan, students at Gomal University disapprove of the institution’s decision to ban musical shows at its two campuses, The Express Tribune has learnt.
A concert organised by a student group was disrupted by authorities late Sunday night, ostensibly for violating the official ban, organisers and officials confirmed.
The Pakhtun Student Federation had organised a concert by Pashto singer Mazhar Khan at Gomal University in DI Khan. A police party arrived at the university’s Facilitation Hall, where hundreds of students gyrated to Khan’s tunes, removed the stage and forced students out of the hall.
“A ban has been imposed by the university’s vice chancellor on programmes involving music, songs and dance on campus premises under Section 13 (3) of the Gomal University Act 1974,” Dr Salahuddin, director of student affairs at the university, told The Express Tribune.
The PSF, however, said that they will continue to struggle against what they felt was usurpation of their rights. “Access to entertainment is our fundamental right,” Sherullah Wazir, a political science students and secretary of PSF at Gomal’s campus, said.
Sherullah said that a majority of the university’s student body came from Fata, particularly from North and South Waziristan agencies. “They want musical shows at the campus as it is the only venue where they can entertain themselves. They can’t even think of such things in [their] war-torn tribal areas.”
But, Dr Salahuddin categorically stated that the university was not against entertainment activities. He defended the decision saying that all the administration is opposed to are programmes that disturb the university’s environment. “A number of outsiders also came to campus [for the disrupted musical show], which cannot be allowed. The university will not permit programmes that are attended by rickshaw drivers and participants smoke hashish,” he said.
In support of his assertion that the administration supported entertainment activities, he said that students are allowed to play the Rabab during welcome and farewell parties and other events but the administration will not allow professional singers to perform on campus.
He also said that the decision was not made due to fear of militants or threats from them.
A student, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that a tussle was going on between the university’s students and administration over organising musical shows. “Students often arrange programmes outside campus but it is insecure to do so.”
On the other hand, right-wing religious party Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing Islami Jamiat Talaba says it backs the administration’s decision to disallow musical shows.
“It is the IJT’s mission to not permit such activities on campuses and we will back the university administration in not allowing musical shows and dance parties,” IJT’s nazim Shafirullah said.
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