Unexpected expulsion

November 15, 2015

Student Araib Khan, who invited Ayyan Ali to support his business venture at the Karachi University and was later expelled, narrates his side of the story

Unexpected expulsion

It started with an idea to test the market for flavored chips. Araib Khan, who was enrolled in a diploma in supply chain management leading to a Masters in the department of Public Administration, wanted to open an outlet where he could sell 240 different flavours of French fries. He thought if he could just find the right investors his Chip n Dip, the name he gave to his business idea, could go bigger than another international chain.

The department of public administration became his test market. He managed to convince the chairperson of his department to set up a simple stall outside the department for 15 days.

He got a table, a potato cutter from his mom and a gas stove. To market his product, he emailed invitations to many celebrities. He told all of them that profits from the sales of his chips will go to a charity organization which supports the handicapped.

On August 13, for the inauguration of Chip n Dip, three celebrities -- Chef Ammarah, Chef Asad and fashion model, Nadia Hussain -- arrived. Their presence gave Araib’s sale a boost.

On August 15, Araib was working at an advertising company he had recently joined. His phone buzzed and an unknown number lit up his screen. "The number started with the digit 1 so I thought someone from the US was calling me. It turned out to be model Ayyan Ali’s manager. He said Ayyan was reaching Karachi University in 30 minutes."

Araib then remembered that he had messaged Ayyan Ali on Facebook and had also left his phone number in the message. "I never received a reply. And I was really not prepared for this phone call."

He had just ignored the phone call when minutes later his phone screen lit up again. "We are at Karsaz", texted Ayyan’s manager.

Feigning an emergency at home, Araib took the day off from work and rushed to Karachi University. His friend Abdullah Rizwan, a recent graduate from the department, accompanied him.

"When I reached the university, Ayyan’s heavily guarded protocol was standing at the university gate. The guards stopped her for a while and then let her go. One of them made a phone call to the administration department."

"I asked Ayyan to leave behind the dozen guards with their loaded guns before she entered the department." She agreed, and the model who was under trial for illegally transferring half a billion dollars abroad, entered with only two bodyguards.

"Some students cat-called but I told them to shut up."Then he took her to the seminar room, where he asked her to say a few words about his Chip n Dip and the cause it was supporting.

Meanwhile, two officials from the admin department walked into the chairperson’s office. "They argued that Ayyan was a controversial personality and no one had taken permission."

In the seminar room, students were busy clicking selfies with the beautiful model. Ayyan made a speech in which she told students to never believe in rumours, to work hard and support good causes.

In the 20 minutes that the chairperson and admin staff were discussing what to do about the presence of an undertrial model in the campus, Ayyan got back into her car and left the campus in her big black car.

"I agree I never asked for permission to bring in Ayyan Ali to the department. But I have spent four years in the department, and I have never before sought permission to invite guests. If there was an SoP, why didn’t anyone follow it for so long?" he asked.

All was calm for two days but it was probably the calm before a storm. On August 19, Ayyan Ali published pictures of her trip to the Karachi University. All hell broke loose. Criticism poured on social media. How could an under trial model tutor students on good living?

For Araib it meant losing his job at the advertising agency he had recently joined. "I got a call from office. I was still under probation and they asked me to hand over my resignation or be ready to face a termination letter. I resigned."

"Karachi University sent a long letter to my house stating that I had violated their code of conduct. I was expelled."

Araib answered with a 25-page letter from a lawyer. "I never got a chance to prove my case. No one knows the story I have just shared with you."

"The university claims I violated their code of conduct. What code of conduct are they talking about? I have never heard or signed a code of conduct."

At the time of admission to Karachi University, all students sign a form which says that they will stay away from student politics. Yet student politics inside the campus is living reality. "Some of these political activists roam around with gun. The only reason I was expelled was because I wasn’t part of a student political group."

Araib has the cheeky attitude of a college kid who knows who made a mistake--but believes it was all good fun. "I wasn’t paying celebrities. But I was convincing and so many of them agreed to come to Karachi University."

For now Araib, has all his attention focused on his Chip n Dip. He has an outlet running at Defence. "It keeps me busy all day".

Prof. Jaffar Ahmed, a professor at Karachi University says that Ayyan’s episode was blown out of proportion, and the media was to be blamed partly. "True, the student should have taken permission but expulsion was too harsh a punishment. He should have been allowed to plead his case."

"Ayyan is an under trial model, she has not been indicted in any case yet. So many under trial politicians visit the campus," says Ahmed adding that the decision was probably hurriedly taken to reduce the pressure the news channels were putting on the university.

"You see the society in general has the tendency to look down on women associated with art, culture and dance. Ayyan Ali became regular news on entertainment sections of the news bulletin, and so her visit to the university was blown out of proportion," he says.

Unexpected expulsion