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Karachi University plagued by growing violence

KARACHI: Karachi University has been witnessing a series of violent incidents for almost a month that have virtually paralysed the institution. The frequent violence and disorder on the campus has continuously been disrupting the ongoing exams for regular as well as external students.

karachi university blastA recent meeting between Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, the chancellor of all public sector universities in the province, and KU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui seems to have done little to improve the law and order situation on the campus. The fresh episode of unrest started on November 29 when a group of students in an aggressive mood broke into a room where selection board members were about to hold interviews of some education department candidates for the post of lecturer.

The students harassed the staff and forced the board members and the KU administration to stop the recruitment process. The students were reportedly angry over the failure of their favourite candidate in the selection board test, held before the scheduled interviews.

After this untoward incident, the university administration came under so much pressure that it postponed all selection board meetings and put on hold the remaining process of recruitment scheduled for the week.

Not a single student involved in the incident was caught and punished, though the vice chancellor himself was present at the meeting. The campus security adviser also resigned the same day.

The inaction on the part of the administration encouraged members of other student groups to ignore discipline as there were reports of kidnapping of students and beating up of a teacher and a non-teaching employee on the campus.

Taking action on two cases, the KU administration rusticated two students allegedly involved in the kidnapping. It also debarred another student for beating up an employee of the admission committee. Later, there were incidents of clashes among student groups leaving a teacher injured and university property damaged. No one was, however, caught or punished.

The Karachi University Teachers Society (Kuts) boycotted exams for a week in protest over the situation and when the university reopened, some students stormed a security office and ransacked it. The students were enraged over the entry of a rusticated student who was seen moving freely on the campus. They alleged that some university staff had allowed him in.

The student group later forced one of the pro-vice chancellors to order issuance of transfer letters of deputy registrar and the campus security officer. The transfer letters were withdrawn the next day by the vice chancellor who was not present on the campus when the letters were issued.

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