The month-and-a-half-long strike of protesting students of Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) has finally come to an end with the restoration of expelled students, as well as those rusticated by the administration.
The six-month long conflict began after the administration expelled and rusticated several students from Baloch and Sindhi students’ associations of the university. The students had been found involved in a violent clash in a university hostel in May. The university was shut down on October 4 following strikes, protests and boycott of classes by Baloch and Sindhi students demanding cancellation of the expulsion and rustication orders of the students involved the clash.
On Thursday, the university administration finally restored the expelled and rusticated students following a meeting of university’s syndicate members with Federal Education Minister Balighur Rehman.
However, the restoration has not come without conditions. Rolling back its decision, the university slapped a fine of Rs 40,000 each on students expelled earlier in the year, while those rusticated for two semesters have been fined Rs 25,000 each. The students will be issued stern warning letters over their involvement in the violent clash, and will be required to submit apology letters as well as assurance from parents and guardians guaranteeing that they will steer clear of such skirmishes in the future.
Following the announcement, the protesting students who had been on a hunger strike called off their protest at the university premises. Last month, over a hundred protesting students had been arrested by law enforcement authorities in a violent crackdown at the university campus.
With the issue settled for good, routine academic activities at the university will hopefully resume as scheduled. QAU is the only Pakistani university ranked among top 500 universities of the world by Times Higher Education. With thousands of students representing every nook and corner of the country, the university’s utmost efforts should be to promote harmony and unison among the youth, instead of engaging in a blame game on ethnic lines.
Let’s hope the incident serves as a lesson for both the administration and the students to keep their affairs in order and concentrate on something that is need of the of hour: imparting and receiving quality education.