Sunday June 26, 2022

Female students bearing the brunt of KU’s safety steps

May 12, 2022

Even after the passage of more than two weeks since the suicide bomb blast at the University of Karachi, the interim administration of the educational institution is yet to devise a comprehensive security plan to facilitate students and run academic activities smoothly on campus.

Due to this apparent indecision, female students especially face more difficulties. The entry of private vans that provide pick-and-drop services to female students has been banned, and no alternative plan has been introduced by the KU administration to ensure their timely entry.

Female students first have to wait in line for hours so their identity cards are manually checked before they are allowed to enter the campus, following which they have to walk two-and-a-half kilometres to reach their respective departments.

Male students, however, show their passes and identity cards at the gate to be checked, following which they are allowed to enter the campus and ride to their respective departments on their motorbikes.

Standing in long queues, female students are forced to feel uncomfortable and insecure as the public passing through University Road often record their videos and take their photos without their permission.

A number of students told The News that they are also scared while waiting in queues to enter the university because terrorists can easily target the large crowd to ensure the maximum number of casualties.

Moreover, there is no security on the road outside university where they are forced to wait until they get entry. Ironically, parents are not allowed to drop their daughters on campus on motorbikes. This is why long queues of only female students can be seen at the gates. As for the checking process, it proceeds very slowly due to a lack of essential security equipment such as walk-through gates, baggage scanners, handheld metal detectors and vehicle inspection devices. However, KU administration has convened a meeting on Thursday (today) to review and improve its security measures.

On Tuesday some female students had held a demonstration in front of a private bank’s branch situated on campus near the administration block to demand that private vans be allowed on campus again.

On Wednesday a female student of the KU Institute of Environmental Studies suddenly felt sick. Her teacher wanted to drop her at the university’s Silver Jubilee Gate but he was stopped in front of the history department. The teacher later managed to call the student’s family so she could be taken to the hospital. According to the teacher, the security adviser could not be bothered to intervene and resolve such cases of urgency. He said that due to the increasing heat, more of such incidents could happen over the next few days, but the university has taken no steps to tackle such incidents on campus.

Female students have also been voicing their concerns about the unprofessional behaviour of the security guards. They said that the university has no female security guards who can understand the problems being faced by female students.

Dr Abdul Jabbar, a senior member of the campus security advisory, admitted that when the university resumed classes after the Eidul Fitr holidays, students have been facing a lot of difficulties. However, he stressed, KU’s acting administration is striving hard to facilitate them.

He said that the law enforcers and the KU security office have collected the details of the private van drivers, and that within the next two days they will be allowed to resume transport services for female students.

He added that the administration will also allow rickshaws owned by university employees to provide shuttle service to KU students for Rs20. However, he pointed out, they will be bound to accommodate only four students at a time.

Dr Jabbar said the campus security office is also considering the option of university buses dropping students at the cricket ground on campus, but the venue needs to be fenced. He reiterated that the current administration is committed to providing the maximum facilities to students but also to keeping a strict security check at the same time.