Only 100 out of 15 thousands new admissions every year hail from Balochistan. These, such a pity no. of reserved seats that have been kept in various departments of Punjab University for the students of Balochistan are now being reduced by 50%. The rationale given about this is the violent nature of the e students who only come here to disturb the peaceful environment of University.
One wonders there are several universities in Lahore that house thousands of students from Balochistan, however, have never complained the same. This might be because those students in other universities aren’t under attack from a respective extremist student organization such as Jamiat.
Also the students from Balochistan have started coming to Lahore after the university offered them reserved seats as a bid to create harmony between the provinces and uplift the ailing education system of Balochistan, initially in 2011. But this university has long been drawn into controversies much before even when it used to be only Punjab centric. The attack on Imran khan in 2002 exposed that so called peaceful environment the administration is now so protective about.
While 100 seats only neither can solve the long standing problems of Balochistan nor it can disturb the environment, for instance if the administration is positive about its claim, but it will well serve as a gesture of good will and help heal wide open wounds of the people of Balochistan. Keeping these seats unabated will have positive impacts and strengthen the federation in the long run. Students usually residing and educating in Punjab have a broader mentality as they comparatively waive the environment and strive ahead in bringing peace and prosperity to Balochistan. They also are less exposed to ethno-politics.
Past administrations specially the one under Vice chancellor Mujahid Kamran was very well aware about the deteriorating situation of the people of Balochistan. He didn’t only help the students of Balochistan with their academics but also provided them with a friendly environment. He created special centers for non-local students to also help them grow recreational. But not very long as he was drawn into controversies by biased elements inside his administration and finally removed as VC while he was serving as interim VC. The silver lining of the Baloch/Pashtoon students also came to an end with it.
The next administration as we were hoping it would follow the footsteps of former administration, to our astonishment suddenly started siding with the extremist student’s organization Jamiat and brought down hell upon the non-local student by expelling several students over no issue. That at time the Jamiat, in order to pressurize administration and the new interim VC, used to set up these innocent and progressive students to brand them violent and extortionary. Not only them the student but also the administration fell for their cunning tactics and started coming down strongly upon t these innocent students. Balochistan’s students demonstrated peacefully for their rights to live peacefully inside university and against the biased behaviour of the administration. But that didn’t go well with the administration and on whose request the Punjab police arrested more than 180 students and lodged FIR against them. They spent more than one week in notorious Kot Lakhphat jail without any crime and conviction. Later it was learned that they were being tried under terrorism charges.
After all these low tactics, the administration has the audacity to blame them as violent and also reduce their seats by 50%. What message will it impart to the people of Balochistan who have sent their children in hope of their as well as Balochistan’s better future.
I hope the concerned authorities will look into the matter and urge the administration to not take such an infamous step in any case. And also request it to increase the seats if possible. This small step will have engraved effects on the minds of poor people of Balochistan.