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May 20, 2024

 Student Solidarity Marches Held Across the Country

Huge numbers of students had taken to the streets to demand their rights. The Student Solidarity March held rallies in almost 40 cities across the country, under the aegis of the Student Action Committee, a national-level representative of smaller students’ organizations.

By: Working Class Movement Pakistan (IWL-FI)  29-11-2019


They demanded the restoration of student unions, the reversal of budgets cuts, the formation of sexual harassment committees and an end to ethnic, gender and religious discrimination on university campuses. The march ended to say with next strike after taking decision in Student action committee’s directions. However, the HRCP and trade unions leadership have expressed alarm over the government’s attitude towards the marchers. They have voiced its concern over reports of harassment and rustication of students and condemned the authorities’ attempt to prevent youth from participating in a peaceful assembly, thus violating their rights of freedom of expression, and has also drawn attention to a notification issued by the governor of Balochistan banning any ‘political’ activity in the University of Balochistan campus, while directing the security personnel deployed there to take ‘necessary’ action if required.

In fact, many incidents in the recent past, such as the murder of Mashal Khan in Mardan and the blackmailing of students by the administration of the University of Balochistan, have only proved that the absence of effective student representation has paved the way for ill-intentioned elements to prevail in university campuses, disrupting academic and administrative affairs and ruining the futures of thousands. The fact that students have to take to the streets to raise a voice for their rights and to air their grievances is in itself a testament to this fact. It is to be hoped that this march will lead to serious debate on the pivotal issue of students’ representation and the revival of unions,

that is, like it or not, the only way to rid campuses of unhealthy outside influence, while also making them more efficient in resolving students’ problems.

The reason we are forced to do this on the roads is because of an affidavit that every student has to sign before they get admission. Basically there is no ban on student unions but, through certain orders, restrictions are imposed so students will not take part in politics or hold protests on campus.

We are marching against the system which labels us as “Terrorists” for demanding clean water on campus. Puts us behind bars for opposing dictatorship of administration on campus. We demand our right to exist with dignity.

Another demand of the Student Solidarity March’s participants is to “put an end to unnecessary interference by security forces and the release of all arrested students involved in political activities”.

The presence of law enforcement agencies officials on campuses and especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Univerties, complain that they are subjected to unnecessary policing”___ which includes imposition of moral regulations as well, that limits their academic freedom.

Government argues that they are providing security. In that case post them outside the gates, why are you allowing them inside the campus? We go there to study, but we can’t even talk , adding that such measure discourage critical thinking

Rescently at Sindh University Students were arrested over sedition charges for demanding water facilities, they were accused of being anti-state for making just demand, the participants also criticized curfew policies adopted by students hostels and said that they discriminated between male and female students.

The issue of recent fee hikes and budget cuts announced by Higher Education commission (HEC) has also be raised at the march. Students also demand that universities and hostels be equipped with basic facilities, such as transport, libraries, computers and internet etc, to facilitate the academic process.

In order to effectively prevent sexual harassment on campus, functional anti-harassment committees should be constituted, in accordance with HEC policy, and also have student representation.

Another demand is a singular education system, in order to ensure that students from all regions and social classes get equal future opportunities. In addition, they insist, unemployed students should be granted allowances until they find jobs

Furthermore, university admission form should either do away with gender sections or include an option for trans people.

Further many student organizations emphasized for collective struggle with working class under banner of no to privatization ,unemployment and austerity plans because this time is for us an  economical crisis in Pakistan and this mean to rid with capitalism and imperialist financial institution like world Bank and International Monitoring Funds (IMF) by National and International solidarity !

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