Twenty-two students of the University of Peshawar (UoP) who were involved in an on-campus armed clash on February 14 have been barred from entering the varsity.
Furthermore, the university administration has also imposed a fine of Rs25,000 on eight of these students who are currently enrolled as well as a Rs5,000 fine on six former students of the varsity, while two students have been expelled.
“In case of non-compliance with the orders, previously issued degrees of former students shall be cancelled with immediate effect,” said a UoP official, while quoting the orders issued by the varsity administration.
Requesting not to be named as he was not entitled to talk to the media, the official said the recommendations were forwarded to senior university officials by the enquiry committee after a thorough probe of the February 14 incident wherein two student groups, the Pukhtun Students Federation (PkSF) and Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) clashed.
The leaders of both student organisations have termed the UoP’s decision an unjust as the ban would disrupt their studies. Both PkSF and IJT leaders said they would challenge the decision in court.
Shah Zaman Durrani, the IJT campus nazim, told The Express Tribune they had reservations about the disciplinary committee’s members. “They want a settlement between the groups and thus gave a one-sided decision,” Durrani added.
A PkSF member, Tariq Afghan, said the activists had appeared in front of the committee and answered its questions truthfully.
“This is a ban on the freedom of movement which cannot be tolerated,” said Afghan, adding he has an exam scheduled for April 22 and he was barred from entering the university.
A meeting of the student wing has been called to decide the future strategy, Afghan added.
UoP Provost Alam Khan could not be contacted despite several attempts.
On February 14, an armed clash occurred between the Awami National Party student wing PkSF and Jamaat-e-Islami student wing IJT over the celebration of Valentine’s Day on the campus. The PkSF wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day while the IJT wanted to observe the day as Haya Day.
As many as three students were injured on the first day of the clashes and several hostel rooms of PkSF students were also burnt, which the PkSF activists believed to be a work of IJT members. A couple of days later, another clash erupted after which several rooms of IJT members were burnt which IJT believed was done by PkSF.
Following this, the university administration vacated Blocks A and B of the boys hostel, while campus police arrested several students from both sides.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2014.
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