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November 14, 2017

PA resolution asks govt to restore student unions


November 14, 2017

In a unanimously passed resolution on Monday, lawmakers demanded of the Sindh government to lift the ban on student unions at educational institutions across the province.

The resolution was moved by PPP MPA Dr Abdul Sattar Rajper, and legislators across the treasury-opposition divide gave speeches in the Sindh Assembly on the resolution. They urged the Sindh government to immediately restore student unions at colleges and universities across the province without waiting for such a decision by the federal administration.

Dr Rajper said the autocratic ruler of the past had imposed a ban on student unions, but the present democratic government was under an obligation to restore them.

PPP MPA Khairunnisa Mughal said dictatorial rulers of the past had banned student unions because they had produced young political leaders, adding that students should once again be allowed to form unions at educational institutions.

PPP MPA Khursheed Ahmed Junejo said student unions had served as nurseries for politics, adding that student associations had played an important role in Pakistan’s foundation and later actively strived against dictators for restoring democratic order.

Junejo said Ayub Khan’s dictatorial rule had ended due to the struggles of student unions, adding that several notable politicians of the country, including Benazir Bhutto, had entered into the political arena through student unions.

PTI MPA Dr Samar Ali Khan said that while his party’s lawmakers supported the resolution, they stressed that student associations should function within their restrictions, adding that unions should resolve students’ problems but not be overly politicised. Khan said political parties should not use student associations as their subsidiary organisations and unions should stay away from politics, adding that student associations should not discriminate on the basis of language or race.

PPP MPA Saeed Ghani said ideological politics in the country had been buried the day student and labour unions were banned, because the step had given rise to extremism. “We are required to revert to politics on the basis of ideology.”

Ghani said revival of student and labour unions had become all the more important in the present day, adding that instead of waiting for the Centre to make a decision, the Sindh government should legislate, if required, to immediately revive student unions in the province.

MQM-P MPA Faisal Subzwari said it was wrong to assume that student unions had given rise to politics of violence in the country, adding that students were trained in politics due to such associations and were also taught tolerance and fraternity.

Subzwari said that several people in the House, including himself, were produced by student unions, adding that students should be provided the freedom to express their opinion on politics and also be allowed to elect their leadership. He said student unions should be reactivated after regulating their system.

PPP MPA Awais Qadir Shah said student unions had always played an important part in the struggles against dictatorial rulers, adding that they had produced qualified and able leadership for the country. Shah recalled that former PM Yousaf Raza Gilani had also tried to revive student unions, but to no avail. He urged the Sindh government to immediately act upon the resolution to restore student unions at the earliest.

PPP MPA Jawed Nagori said Ziaul Haq had imposed a ban on student unions to promote his favourite politicians in the country, adding that the unwise act had given rise to sectarianism and extremism and the forming of ethnic political parties. Nagori said Zia’s regime had created the ‘Kalashnikov culture’ in the country, adding that before his rule student unions were not formed on the basis of ethnicity.

Meanwhile, the legislature unanimously passed another resolution calling upon the Sindh government to establish science centres and museums in every divisional headquarters of the province. Moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Khuhro, the resolution asked the Sindh Information, Science & Technology Department to seek the support of the science community for the purpose.

Moreover, the Sindh Occupational Safety & Health Bill 2017 was introduced in the Assembly. After due consideration, the House would accord approval to the bill on Wednesday.

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