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December 11, 2019

Government, opposition in NA support restoration of student unions

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December 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Tuesday witnessed a near consensus on restoration of student unions in educational institutions as parliamentarians from both sides of the aisle voiced support for such unions.

The parliamentarians took part in the discussion over a bill titled “The Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2019” moved by the PML-N member Kesoo Mal Kheeal Das as private member bill.

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said that restoration of student unions is vital to end

polarisation and violence on campus. She said ban on student unions has caused negative impact on the education environment.

Dr Shireen Mazari observed that it was her personal experience that ethnic and sectarian groups surfaced in the Quaid-i-Azam University following a ban on student unions.

Minister for PlanningAsad Umar said that students had played a great role in Pakistan Movement and same zeal is required to take the country forward. Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said that student unions provide future leadership of the country as a number of political leaders have come from this process.

Minister for State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said Prime Minister Imran Khan is a great admirer of student politics, but prime objective of the students on campus should be education.

Khawaja Saad Rafique said that there is no harm in reviving students’ politics on campus, but it should also be taken in view that young minds should be misled. He, however, said while restoring unions, a guarantee should be given that the political parties would not raise their political wings there.

Riaz Fatyana said it is the student federation from where middle class leadership emerges and ideological politics flourishes. He said steps should be taken to avoid violence in educational institutions.

Nafeesa Shah said student unions and student wings of political parties should be separated. She proposed an all parties conference to have a detailed discussion over restoration of student unions.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Power Division Omar Ayub Khan expressed government’s commitment to provide cheap electricity to consumers and said about 8,000 megawatts will be generated through solar and wind energy projects by 2025 at a rate of less than Rs6.5 per unit. He was responding to a call attention notice regarding charging of fuel surcharge in electricity bills from the people of Malakand region despite the generation of electricity through four power houses in the area.

Omar Ayub Khan said the government was pursuing a policy to generate 70 to 80 percent of energy from domestic resources to provide cheap electricity to consumers. Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali while advocating restoration of student unions observed that Speaker Asad Qaisar and many other parliamentarians started their career from student wing.

Bashir Virk strongly opposed restoration of unions, saying that unions did nothing except violence in the educational institutions. He said the only objective of students should be to get education.