Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar
Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar

Chair Human Rights Committee in Senate, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) says the Senate committee will summon the Punjab Police Inspector General (IG), Shoaib Dastagir to explain why they have slapped 300 students and their supporters for sedition and other charges for merely practicing their constitutional rights.

The Sindh government has started formulating a legislation to lift this de-facto ban and restore student unions in colleges and universities across the province, where the PPP enjoys a majority. Historically, the PPP has condemned this ban and even in 1988, Benazir Bhutto had lifted the ban on student unions. As a result elections were held in 1989. This, however was short lived and was challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1990. The apex court then re-imposed the ban in 1993. The ban remained under Musharraf’s regime. In 2008, then Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani announced in his maiden speech to revive student unions but unfortunately could not go far. This year in November, Nida Khuhro, a lawmaker of the PPP, tabled a resolution to lift ban on student unions in Sindh, with the legislators on the opposition benches also supporting it. The resolution was passed by the provincial assembly, against the past oppressive dictatorial regime to ban student unions in public sector universities and colleges. Now, the provincial government of Sindh plans to introduce a well formulated mechanism to regulate student unions in the province, keeping in view the charter, objectives and aims of different unions.

Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar of the PPP says that they plan to table a government bill which will effectively lift the ban on student unions and in Sindh, students will be able to exercise their fundamental rights. Khokhar is hopeful that that bill will be passed without any difficulty as the PPP has a majority in in the Sindh Assembly with over a 100 seats.Senator Khokhar said that filing FIRs against students is an indication of our descent into fascism. He condemned the restrictions that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has imposed on the media. “Dawn’s premises was surrounded by an angry mob. We are slowly and deliberately being dragged to a kind of future that is a complete deviation from Quaid’s progressive Pakistan. We must resist at all costs,” he said while condemning a recent event in which a an angry mob of unidentified people staged a protest outside Dawn offices and shouted slogans against the media outlet and in favour of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and military. This protest allegedly took place as a reaction to a publication which reported the ethnicity of the London Bridge attacker.

Authored by Munizae Jahangir