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July 17, 2018

UoP ‘search operation’ irks students

National

July 17, 2018

PESHAWAR: The University of Peshawar continued ‘operation’ at the university hostels and claimed to have got vacated dozens of rooms from illegal occupants.

The operation on Monday was launched at the Hostel No. 1 and 9 where mostly senior students reside. The Hostel No. 9 is specified for PhD and MPhil students.

The university administration has also closed all the hostels.

The operation and closure of the university’s boarding facilities for students has not only created fear and unrest among the students but it has also affected the studies and exams of the students.

The university administration has declared the operation a ‘great success’ and claimed that ‘Islamic literature,’ political parties’ flags and other things were recovered from the rooms. However, they failed to show anything objectionable found in the hostel rooms to media.

Also, no such outsider or ‘outlaw’ could be arrested from any of the hostels that were raided. A heavy contingent of campus and city police along other security personnel and some officers of the university last week raided the four blocks – A, B, C and D – of New Hostels of the university. Some 400 students were taken into custody and their rooms ransacked.

The operation has sparked widespread protest and condemnation. Feeling the pressure, an anonymous letter was sent to the governor alleging that taxi drivers and outlawed elements were living in the hostels. The anonymous letter, according to sources, was a bid to give justification for the so-called operation which had already been launched.

Most of the students complained that they were very ill-treated and humiliated during the raid.

Out of the arrested students, some 350 were released after five to six hours. The remaining were sent to central jail. Some of them were set free the very next day on the court order and nearly a dozen were kept in the prison for five days and were set free the other day.

Interestingly, all the students were lawful students of the university and legal boarders of the hostels wherefrom they had been arrested.

The students under the banner of Muttahida Talaba Mahaz protested the move but their protest fell on deaf ears.

A group of students Sunday visited The News and shared the sufferings they passed through during and after the so-called operation.

They were critical of the university administration especially its acting provost Saifullah and campus security officer Col (Retd) Aziz Gul.

They said that the two officers wanted to show their ‘efficiency’ by launching the meaningless ‘operation’.

The students alleged that the students were harassed. Some of them believed that their examinations were drawing near and they have been pulled out of the hostels and they had no other place to stay in and continue studies.

They rejected the university administration’s claims that objectionable material had been recovered from rooms. “If they are true in their claim, they should show as what objectionable they have found in the rooms,” one of the affected students said.

He said that every student has some Islamic books – at least Holy Quran – in his room, which of course is Islamic literature.

The university administration should also think that many of the students study in Islamic Studies and Arabic department. So they would definitely have Islamic literature. Therefore, it was strange for the university administration to say that ‘Islamic literature’ had been recovered from the rooms, he added.

The students demanded Governor Iqbal Zafar Jaghra, Chief Minister Justice (r) Dost Mohammad Khan and Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Waqar Ahmad Seth to take notice of the issue and order inquiry into the unjustified operation and harassment of students. They also demanded immediate reopening of the university hostels.

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