November 15, 2023
By Gohram Aslam Baloch
Students of the University of Turbat (UoT) were barred from bringing in books onto the campus premises, in a video that went viral on social media some days ago. In the footage, the male students are seen carrying stacks of books while the university’s security guard attempts to stop them. The guard is heard pleading with the students that he has been ordered to prevent them from coming into the university premises carrying books.
On Monday, Prof. Dr. Manzoor of the University of Quetta was barred from bringing his books to UoT, where he was scheduled to attend as a guest speaker for a circle organized by the Baloch Students Action Committee.
Students claim that for a long time activities such as poetry recitals and setting up book stalls have been barred at UoT. Furthermore, they allege that the institution’s administration are profiling students the same way Baloch students are profiled in the University of Punjab in Lahore.
They say that they are often grilled on which student organization they belong to.
Further allegations have emerged that the women studying at UoT have received invitations to participate in events being organized by Frontier Corps (FC), but the university administration turned them down. Voicepk.net has yet to independently verify this claim.
We are trying to establish a healthy environment here and promote a culture of reading books on campus. We question why the university administration is opposed to positive activities,” said Bahot Changaiz, a Bachelors student enrolled in the UoT’s law program.
“When we raise our voice on such issues, we are subjected to retaliatory action.”
According to Changaiz, four students including himself have been forced to take a semester break.
In response to the video circulating on social media, the UoT stated that the institution has two libraries stocked with thousands of books, and that the ban imposed on the books brought in by the students seen in the video was to curb political activity on the campus as per the policy of Higher Education Commission (HEC), the Federal and Provincial governments and the university itself.
The institution’s administration held that the bookstall was being set up by the student wing of a political party with aid from non-UoT students. Furthermore, 40 students, including two associated with the student organization, flunked their semester exams and per academic rules and regulations had to drop out. They alleged that these students had been allowed to retake exams multiple times but could not clear them, and as such were attempting to malign the UoT.
However, Naveed Taj, a political activist, rejected the UoT’s accusations against the students.
“When students raise their voice against the corruption and nepotism of the university administration, they are harassed by the university’s administration, which is unacceptable,”
he said. “There is a ban on carrying books in the university while there is no restriction on the movement of armed persons. The UoT is acting like a colonial master, and pressuring students to surrender their rights.