Karachi University formed a joint action committee to resist

Karachi:17 March:Teachers, students and non-teaching employees of Karachi University (KU) formed a joint action committee on Friday to resist the controversial Universities and Institutes Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018.

The committee was announced during a meeting held at the Staff Club. Representatives of student organisations and associations of employees and teachers attended the meeting, which was presided Prof Dr Shah Ali ul Qadar.

The participants decided that they would not compromise on the autonomous status of the varsities. They rejected the assurances held out by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Sindh HEC Chairman Dr Asim Hussain that the objectionable clauses in the amended law would be reviewed.

They decided to continue their protest until the withdrawal of the amendments that have deprived the governor of key powers, including the authority to make top appointments to the varsities, and given them to the chief minister.

Members of the committee demanded the restoration of the 1972 Universities Act in its true spirit, elections of student unions and representation of non-teaching employees and students on the statuary bodies of the varsities.

A day earlier, KU teachers, students and non-teaching employees continued their on-campus protest for the fourth consecutive day against the controversial bill passed by the provincial assembly.

On Monday, the Teachers Alliance for Good Governance, the Employees Welfare Association, the Students Federation of Pakistan and other KU groups had observed a black day.

The following day, the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (Fapuasa) had observed a black day in all public sector universities across Sindh. Fapuasa ended the protest after Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah assured a delegation of the association that the law would be reviewed.

But associations of KU teachers, employees and students believe that the government had never kept such promises in the past; therefore, they will continue their on-campus protest until the government removes all disputed clauses from the act.

Continuing their protest, they gathered at the Arts Lobby on Thursday and expressed serious concerns over the bill. They also condemned Senior Minister for Food and Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Khuhro’s statement regarding the amended law.

In a statement, the minister had said nobody should raise objections to the chief minister’s becoming the appointing authority of the universities because he was an elected representative.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Dr Shah Ali-ul-Qadar, vice president of the Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS), said the varsities were places where academic freedom reigned supreme and no authority in the government could control the academic and financial affairs of varsities as these were themselves statutory bodies.

He said it was very amazing logic of the government that the chief minister had promised the Fapuasa delegation to review the amendments, but statements of ministers had proved him wrong. They were not ready to modify the law, which included disputed clauses, he added.

Dr Riaz Ahmed, chairman of the applied chemistry department and member of the Karachi University Academic Council, said teachers had raised their voice against the Model University Ordinance 2002, which had been introduced by General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, and as a result the ordinance had not been implemented. He said Musharraf wanted to undermine the autonomous status of the varsities across the country.

Dr Ahmed said the presence of students and staff at the second protest meant that a movement to resist the bureaucratic rule in the varsities had once again begun from the KU as it had in the past.

He recalled that the students and teachers’ movements were sparked and academia resisted when General Ayub in 1963, Gen Zia in 1982 and General Musharraf in 2003 tried to change the varsities’ laws and get control of the public sector higher educational institutions. KUTS announced it would stage a protest at 11am on March 19.The news.