Tightened security measures inconvenienced students as the University of Karachi (KU) formally resumed academic activities on Monday after the suicide attack on April 26 that killed four people, including three Chinese teachers and their Pakistani driver.
Some students complained that it took multiple hours for them to enter the varsity owing to the security measures at the Silver Jubilee and Maskan gates where abnormal queues of students and teachers — both in vehicles and on foot —were witnessed as they were thoroughly checked by the KU security staff.
A majority of the students missed their classes as the checking process took up to five hours. The long queues that were formed at the two gates at around 7:30pm persisted till around 12 noon.
The vehicles waiting in the queues on University Road and Abul Hassan Ispahani Road also caused massive traffic jams on the thoroughfares. Later, Rangers officials were also called to facilitate and expedite the checking process, which helped clear the main entrances of the university.
The KU acting vice chancellor (VC), Prof Dr Nasira Khatoon, and acting registrar Prof Dr Maqsood Ali Ansari along with Rangers officials, members of the syndicate and student advisory council, and campus security team also visited the entrance gates to review the security arrangements.
The VC expressed satisfaction at the security arrangements and said that efforts should be made to facilitate the entry of students, teachers, staff members and other people coming to the varsity without compromising on the security matters.
She directed the campus security team that no employee should be allowed to enter the campus without the employee card and students should also have their student ID cards.
“All the employees and students of the University of Karachi should display their identity cards all the time after entering the campus,” she said. The varsity also issued a circular that stated that the university would issue stickers and entry passes for a period of five years to the permanent employees and six months to the contractual employees. The staffers residing on campus would be bound to get entry passes for their relatives from the department heads.
Those running canteens on campus were told to submit all dues, CNICs and details of workers in order to get entry passes from the state officer of the university. The individuals providing pick and drop services to the students of the varsity were told to get entry passes after submitting the verification details to the head of the departments, and a voucher of Rs5,00o to the nominated bank.
Meanwhile, the Karachi University Teachers Forum (KUTF) has expressed concern over the checking process. In a statement, the forum said the security advisor of the varsity was unprofessional due to which students and teachers suffered on Monday and missed their classes.
The KUTF said that checkpoints should be set up at a distance from the university's main entrances to prevent crowds as there were threats of untoward incidents. It added that teachers’ entry should be facilitated so that they could reach their classes on time. Instead of manual checking, the varsity should make arrangements for digital scanning of cards, the forum said.
The KUTF was of the view that more security guards should be hired and steps taken to repair the boundary walls. The statement read that the varsity should collect details of the teachers and students after issuing a formal notice.