By: Rab Nawaz, Punjab University Law College
Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), a by-product of Zia’s notorious military dictatorship, is famous for its hooliganism and Islamic fascism. Beating, terrorizing, thrashing, shooting, harassing the innocent students and a general hypocrisy has been the defining attributes of this socially outrageous organization. Recently it has committed another incident to make its presence felt.
This happened in Punjab University such that a newly formed student organization (about 10 months old) named University Students Federation (USF) was gaining rapid popularity mainly because of its Non-violent and Non-partisan nature. This Federation was the result of aftermath of Imran Khan’s man-handling by IJT during the last year’s emergency rule. USF was mainly centered at PU Law College and most of its leading members belonged to the Law College. Although there was a continuous series of threats and maneuvering from IJT since the formation of USF which was frequently reported to the varsity administration and media, it gained pace in the previous weak when USF started forming its structure in the varsity’s hostels. IJT could not hold back to face its hostages (hostels) being liberated. Furthermore IJT thought to have created some space by building some pressure on the administration through staging some rallies for the decrease in fees and internet facility in hostels. It is noteworthy that IJT itself had been stopping the installment of internet in hostels for previous two years on the plea that it would spread vulgarity. There has been continuous tussle between IJT and administration over this issue which mounted to beating and insulting the teachers by IJT.
In this context, on the night between 30th November and 1st December, about two dozens of IJT activists equipped with arms and sticks attacked the room no. 64 of hostel no. 15, a major center of USF meetings. There they tried to kidnap Ch. Ahsan, Imran Sial and Hafiz Azeem but could do no more than thrashing and beating owing to the resistance by the victims and some students from the neighboring rooms. They left after giving life threats. The next day, USF activists did a demonstration on the Campus Bridge requesting safety. Administration promised to take some action but it followed nothing till the night between 2nd and 3rd December when the hostel no. 16 bathed into blood at 2:30 a.m. The events preceding this blood-bath are as follows.
At about 8:00 p.m. on 2nd December, about 50 IJT activists including a number of outsiders had a round of university hostels without any explicit purpose except show of power. When they entered hostel no. 16, they found Atif Naeem Ranjha (President of USF) standing at the newspaper stand and suddenly attacked him with severe blows and thrashing. When USF supporters from the surrounding started to approach them, they ran away. This open cruelty boiled every boarder of hostel 16 and other hostels. They came out raising slogan against IJT and blocked the Canal Road. The road remained blocked for about 2 hours until police and administrative authorities came and they ensured action against the culprits within 24 hours. This scene ended at about 11:30 p.m. After it IJT was heard to stage a protest at another side of Canal Road which was conceived as against administration but it indeed implied the delaying of lawful action against them.
Probably at their returning from the protest, they planned to end this pending story, or it may be a pre-plan, and they attacked the hostel 16. Eye-witnesses tell that they were approximately 50 in number. About 15 to 20 of them trespassed the hostel and directly raided at the rooms resided by USF activists. They were carrying pistols, guns, clubs, iron rods, wickets and bats. There they victimized Hafiz Ahsan, Asad Sajjad Gujjar, Atif Naeem Ranjha, Rai Shajar Abbas, Ali Hassan Waraich, Khurram Butt, Ali Abbas, Rana Naeem and Azhar Subhani. Hafiz Mazhar and Asad were shot with pistols while remaining received serious hurts in heads, arms, backs and legs. During this operation, the brutality of assailants exceeded to an extent that after shooing Asad in the leg, they dragged him down to the gate of the hostel from his room at second floor and battered and pummeled him there to force him to utter the slogan of “Zinda Hai Jamiat (Jamiat is alive)”. Subhani was thrown down on the ground from second floor. After they left by leaving their prints in the form of blood on the floors, broken clubs and window glasses and nine students heavily injured; the other boarders, hostel warden and employees gathered. They took the injured to the Jinnah Hospital where they were operated and medicated. Hafiz Mazhar's condition was very fragile. His vein was cut and he was recovered with great difficulty. Vice Chancellor, other authorities from varsity, police and media immediately reached the hospital. Varsity authorities announced that IJT was behind this act, police registered the FIR while media covered the whole event.
A great wave of anger spread across the campus. Hundreds of students massively boycotted the classes the next morning and arranged a procession that ended at the campus bridge after marching throughout the campus. The students were so upset and raged that they blocked the traffic, burned the tires, raised slogans against IJT and demanded immediate expulsion and arrest of alleged IJT activists. After 3 hours the students dispersed as a result of negotiation with the VC who ensured the fulfilling of the demands.
Although varsity administration and provincial government have resolved to take action but the students must realize that these fascist elements are a grave threat to the very foundations of our society. We need enlightened consciousness to fight back them at every front of the society.