January 29th, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
Four out of five of the students who were sent into physical remand by a local court were released on Friday, January 29, after students and civil society organizations staged a protest outside the Punjab Assembly. The fifth student, Zubair Siddique, who was also the first one to be picked up by the police, is said to be released on Monday.
Earlier the protesters expressed immense outrage at the wrongful detention of their fellow activists, saying that if they were not released they would stage another massive street protest.
In Friday’s protest, the students chanted slogans against the government and private university owners. The students led by political activist Professor Dr. Ammar Ali Jan pointed out that the students were being hounded by the police and the university guards, and the students had been baton-charged only for exercising their right to protest.
Meanwhile, Ayaz Sindhu, co-counsel for the detained activists, said the police had finally produced his clients before the court while a petition filed against their illegal detention was still pending in the Lahore High Court.
The demonstrating youth blamed the government for abandoning them, leaving them at the mercy of the ‘the private university mafia’.
Moshin Abdali, President Progressive Students’ Collective, vowed to continue protesting until all their arrested companions were released.
Parliamentary committee formed
Opposition leaders PML-N MPAs Rana Mashhood and Malik Ahmad Khan, and PPP MPA Murtaza Hassan also attended the students’ demonstration.
The opposition leaders supported the students’ demands, saying they had raised their concerns on the floor of the assembly, and assured them that a parliamentary committee had already been formed regarding the matter. They added that the higher education minister would also take up the issue of online examinations with the private universities.