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National

November 1, 2017

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Minister orders action as students close QAU again

Islamabad: As a group of students shut the Quaid-i-Azam University for the second consecutive day on Tuesday days after its reopening over the prolonged closure due to student agitation, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal ordered Islamabad's administration to ensure  the immediate resumption of academic activities on campus.

However, the tense situation caused by the protest of Baloch Student Council against the rustication of their activists from the university is unlikely to dissipate. The university administration has kept quite on the subject of resumption of educational activities and therefore, staff members and students strongly feel the campus will remain closed on Wednesday, too.

There are also fears about the long delay in the start of the year's fall academic session and even about its cancellation. Though the entry points of the university were manned by the police and varsity guards, the Balochistan Student Council activists held a demonstration and didn't allow the plying of buses and holding of classes.

The police didn't act against protesters, who said the protest would continue until their colleagues expelled over the May campus violence were reinstated.

After keeping the administrative and academic activities suspended for more than a fortnight, all other ethnic student councils had announced last week to call off the strike after successful negotiations with the university's administration over poor facilities and higher fee.

However, the Baloch Student Council refused to accept the announcement and said it would continue protest until its demands, especially restoration of expelled students, was met.

There are also reports suggesting that the police didn't act against troublemakers because key
members of Balochistan government 'in principle' stood with protesters and were politically pressuring the university's administration to reverse the expulsion of students.

However, teachers warn they will not accept restoration of expelled students as it is tantamount to yielding to troublemakers and thus, compromising the rule of law and discipline on campus forever.

The syndicate, university's top decision-making body, which met last Friday, upheld the decision of the discipline committee to expel violent Baloch Student Council activists from the university.

Another meeting of the syndicate will take place on Nov 17. Also in the day, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal ordered the Islamabad administration to resume educational activities in the university. “A handful of students will not be allowed to play with the future of thousands of other students. Discipline shouldn’t be compromised at universities,” he said. The minister said the QAU was the country's an important research institution, whose mockery should be avoided.

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