KUTS to boycott classes today

KARACHI:April 6:To express solidarity with Dr Riaz Ahmed, an associate professor of Applied Chemistry at the University of Karachi (KU) who has been detained and booked in a contentious case, the Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) would observe a Black Day on Thursday (today), after 11 am.

The decision taken at a meeting of the KUTS executive council on Wednesday came on the heels of yesterday's court hearing on Dr Ahmed's bail plea in which the judge reserved his verdict. Condemning Dr Ahmed’s arrest, the teachers’ body demanded immediate release of the professor. Dr Ahmed is also a member of the KUTS executive council and holds a doctoral degree from the University of Cambridge.

Extremely concerned over the arrests of teachers and their fabrications in false cases, the KUTS in a statement issued following the meeting vowed to not support any such act in the future.

The central executive council also remarked that in civilized societies, freedom of expression and struggle against injustice and lawlessness was always encouraged. The body further warned of taking the campaign countrywide if the government did not release Dr Ahmed at the earliest.

Present outside the court during the hearing of Dr Ahmed’s bail plea, a large number of teachers came to the court to show solidarity with the arrested teacher, their statement further read. Messages of solidarity from various other teachers’ bodies of other state-run varsities were also pouring in.

According to KUTS president Shakeel Farooqi, the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA)’s president Dr Humayoon Khan from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Dr Mehboob Hussain (from Punjab) assured the KU teachers that the association would stand with them throughout Dr Riaz release campaign.
Also, Professor Dr Naimatullah Laghari, president of Sindh Agricultural University Tandojam’s teachers’ body, Dr Azhar Ali Shah and Irfana Mallah, president and secretary general of the Sindh University’s teachers’ body respectively, and Dr Muhammad Asif, FAPUASA Islamabad head, also announced to support the KUTS’s campaign for DrAhmed’s release and demanded the government to withdraw the fake cases filed against him.

Civil society meeting

Activists as well as teachers decided to hold a meeting at the Karachi office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan to discuss a future plan of action to secure Dr Ahmed’s release on Thursday.

In a meeting held on Monday, the activists had decided to continue with their peaceful, legal and political struggle to get Dr Riaz Ahmed released, and also demanded fire authorities to ensure citizens’ right to freedom of expression.

On Sunday, they gathered outside the Karachi Press Club to demand the release of Ahmed.

Dr Ahmed was whisked away on Saturday before he could reach the press club where he was scheduled to address a press conference to demand proper medical facilities for the under detention retired senior KU professor as well as a member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement – London Dr Hasan Zafir Arif.

Dr Ahmed was sent to jail on Sunday over charges of possessing an illegal weapon; the court, however demanded judicial custody 14 days.

Dr Arif’s colleague, Dr Mehar Afroz Murad, a retired KU professor, and a civil society activist, were also arrested along with him but later both were released.

Verdict withheld

The additional district and sessions judge (South) held back the verdict in Dr Riaz Ahmed’s cases hearing arguments of state attorney in the bail of Dr Riaz Ahmed, today (Thursday).

The arguments on behalf of Dr Ahmed were heard on Wednesday that pleaded bail case of Dr Riaz Ahmed to However, the court permitted the state attorney to argue the bail plea on (Thursday) today.

The case against the KU professor was registered at the Artillery Maidan police station on the complaint of a Rangers offiial who contended that during the search of Dr Ahmed’s car he found an unlicensed loaded Stoeger Cougar 8000F pistol.

The paramilitary force officer, SI Shahid Pervez Khan, maintained that the detained professor was also allegedly involved in advocating on Facebook for the release of ‘blasphemous’ bloggers reportedly picked up by law enforcement agencies recently.The news.