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PU – fresh violence sends 18 students to hospital

IJT attacks Pashtun students’ cultural festival

Staff Report

LAHORE (Tuesday, March 21, 2017): As many as 18 students injured in a violent fight in Punjab University after Islami Jammiat Tulaba (IJT) activists attacked Pashtun students who were celebrating their cultural festival outside IER here on Tuesday noon.

Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has also taken notice of the incident and ordered the CCPO to investigate the matter and take action impartially and provide best treatment to those injured in the clashes.

The Pashtun Student Federation (PSF) organised a festival at the university. The IJT also erected an camp near Faisal Auditorium and started playing their Jammiat songs. On the other hand, Pashtuns were playing their traditional music. Minister for Higher Education Punjab Syed Ali Raza Gilani was the chief guest at the ceremony organised by Pashtuns. IJT activists started chanting Jammiat’s traditional slogans when minister was present in the ceremony of Pashtuns.

Later, after the departure of the minister, suddenly around 20 baton-wielding boys came and attached the Pashtuns, who also retaliated and the peaceful cultural festival venue turned into a fighting field within no time. Stalls were put on fire, fight continued with stones and sticks.

The attackers fled from the scene while chanting their traditional slogans as viewed in the video clips recorded by some journalists who were present on the spot to cover the festival.

The university administration (RO Office) called the police to control the situation. The police fired tear gas shells to disperse the violent students. Later the police also attacked the reacting Pashtoon victims who started gathering there once again.

The injured students were shifted to Jinnah Hospital and Sheikh Zayed Hospital.

Vice Chancellor Dr. Zafar Mueen and Acting Registrar Khalid Khan along with Resident Officer 1 reached on the spot and allowed the police to conduct operations against the students involved in violent activities.

The police also started to clear the hostels where clash also started among the students of the groups. The police have arrested several students, mostly Pashtoons as IJT activists ran out of the campus, sources said.

There was a panic among parents of female students after TV news channels started showing a war-zone like situation in the campus.

The vice chancellor said that the culprits would be dealt with an iron hand.

Punjab Minister for Higher Education has constituted a high-powered committee to investigate into the violence erupted outside Faisal Auditorium between two student organizations on Tuesday. The fact finding committee would be headed by Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir and would be consisted of Director Students Affairs, Chairman Hall Council, SP Iqbal Town, Resident Officer, SHO Muslim Town and two student representatives from each student organization. The committee will give recommendations in 10 days. Talking to media, Syed Raza Ali Gillani said that we would establish peaceful environment on campus and take measures to avoid any such incident in future.

Punjab Minister for Law Rana Sanaullah in a statement blamed IJT for fresh violence in Punjab University.

Punjab University administration has decided to take strict action against the elements involved in the violence outside Faisal Auditorium. PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir reached the spot and made efforts to control the situation. Talking to media, Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir said that indiscriminate action would be taken against the elements involved in the incident and nobody would be allowed to take law into hands.

At night after failure of talks with PU management and police, Pashtoon students blocked the road in front of hostels gate number 4. They blamed the university management, police and the provincial government for backing and supporting the IJT activists. The Pashtoon students warned the government that they would quit the education and go back to their provinces in KPK and Balochistan if they were not provided with justice.

On the other hand, IJT activists held a protest demonstration  in front of Govt College Civil Lines and Jamaat-i-Islami leaders Salman Butt addressed a press conference while stating that these clash between two groups should not be given a colour of clash between languages and cultures.

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