The activists of arch rivals, Pakhtoon Students Federation (PkSF) and All Pakistan Muttahida Students Organization (APMSO), joined hands on Wednesday to resist the moves the intermediate board took to curb the cheating culture during exams.
The activists barged into the office of Government National College’s (GNC) principal, Prof. Waseem Adil. They wanted to punish him for ‘not cooperating’ during the Urdu intermediate exam on Wednesday.
The administration and staff of National College, which is situated at Shaheed-e-Millat Road, were being threatened for the past three days. The activists would roam around the college during exam hours to make their presence felt. “But we managed to thwart their attempts with the help of police and Rangers,” said Prof. Adil. The signs of assault were clearly visible as he talked to The Express Tribune. Adil’s checked shirt was torn apart and the furniture in his office was reduced to little pieces. His computer lay broken in the hallway. “The activists kept asking me to allow cheating in the exam for their associates,” he said. Adil has been the principal since February 2011.
Even though this year Board of Intermediate Examination Karachi (BIEK) made very strict security arrangements, but as soon as the answer scripts were being collected and the law-enforcement personnel went on a lunch break, APMSO and PkSF activists barged into Prof. Adil’s office. “They literally threw me off the chair and manhandled me,” he said, his voice full of shock and disappointment. The examination centre’s superintendent, Prof. Zaheeruddin Khan and the BIEK officer responsible for guarding the answer scripts were also present in Adil’s office. Both ran for their lives when the assailants entered the office and threw things about. They also smashed up Khan’s car on their way back.
Meanwhile, the police and Rangers learnt about the situation and rushed back to the college. They vacated the college and sealed the gates, but by that time the attackers had made their escape. But they had help from the inside as well. Their compatriots, who appeared in the Urdu exam a little while ago, began hurling stones as big as melons over the college’s boundary wall, damaging the vehicles parked inside.
Since the exams began on May 7, a couple of minor incidents had been reported across the city. But after the attack on Prof. Adil, Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) announced to boycott the exams from Thursday. The body said that the teachers will not jeopardise their lives.
“I believe that it has now become impossible for us to hold examinations at this centre anymore,” said a resigned Prof. Adil. The principal for the evening shift, Prof. Najeeb-ur-Rehman announced that he will use the college to hold exams in the second shift as well.
Prof. Mirza Athar Hussain, SPLA’s president, reached the college with other representatives to show their solidarity. “We will not continue unless the administration and the BIEK ensure protection to the teachers,” Prof. Hussain told The Express Tribune. He said that about 40 APMSO activists also barged into Admajee Government Science College on May 7 but the administration managed to resist them by calling the police and Rangers. The next day, on May 8, PkSF activists had tried to enter Government College for Men in Nazimabad. They even managed to cross the Rangers’s picket but eventually left. “But by attacking Prof. Adil they have crossed all limits,” said president Hussain. “The coalition partners of the government are equally responsible for this hooliganism because they are the ones who gave their student activists a free hand.”
Although SPLA called for a boycott of exams on Thursday, it took back its call later.
Meanwhile, APMSO and Awami National Party (ANP) have denied any involvement in the assault. APMSO’s general secretary told The Express Tribune that the organisation had extended its full support to all the college principals for curbing the cheating culture. Even the Muttahida Qaumi Movement MPAs had been in constant contact with the teachers. He declared the incident as ‘utterly shameful’ and alleged that an ethnic organisation was threatening the administrations of colleges for the last three days.
Responding to the SPLA, APMSO’s general secretary called it a body of ‘so-called religious teachers’ who should focus more on educating their students.
While the ANP’s chief of its Sindh chapter, Senator Shahi Syed, condemned the attack on Prof. Adil and said that the government should take indiscriminate action against those involved.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2012.