September 24th, 2021
By Hamid Riaz
Students of Pakistan’s premier public sector university, Quaid-e-Azam (QAU) have placed their campus under lockdown on September 24 2021, to protest against what they have termed an injustice by the university administration.
The students’ protest movement kicked off on September 20 and eventually evolved into a takeover of the university campus after the university administration failed to take into cognizance the demands of the student body.
The primary impetus for this protest campaign is a rampant and instant increase in the tuition fee on campus, which they say has been bumped by some 35 percent. In addition to the tuition fee, several overhead charges of the university have also been hiked, for instance, the security fund submitted to the university first doubled last year and then underwent a similar increase this year.
“The biggest issue which has caused us to come out on the roads is that of fee hikes. Every new batch that is admitted to QAU has to pay an additional 15 to 20 thousand rupees as compared to the last batch, which you can imagine is a massive increase,” explains Moazzam Ali, a 5th-semester economics department student.
Moazzam further explains that though the fee hike for juniors is shameful in itself this year the university has gone one step ahead “The University had this unsaid policy of not increasing the fees of senior students. This means that our fee remained constant from the day of our admission. This time the university has also decided to increase the fees of senior students which is a cause of direct concern for me” continues Moazzam.
Students also assert that not only has the university decided to increase their fee but has also failed to invest that additional income to improve facilities for the students on campus. “The department promised us they will invest the additional fee obtained from students evening students will be re-invested into improving the infrastructure of the university but nothing of the sorts has occurred,” concludes Moazzam.
The protesting students have also expanded the ambit of their protest campaign to include other demands such as freedom of speech, freedom of association on campus, and the reinstatement of students who were expelled from the university for taking part in political activities.
Additionally, the QAU has decided to award administrative posts to certain members of the faculty. Students believe that such dual posting will result in the concentration of power in the hands of the faculty who will in turn use this power to suppress the voice of the students “We demand that this dual posting policy of the university be scrapped immediately. And the students who have been rusticated or banned by the university must be released immediately,” explains Waqas Ahmad, Senior Vice Chairman of the Pashtun Students’ Council of QAU.
A protesting student Ehsan Achakzai informed Voicepk.net that their protest campaign will continue into Monday unless the university administration accepts all their demand.