Students in Pakistan

Against the Current, No. 204, January/February 2020

AT THE END of last November, at the initiative of the Student Action Committee, Solidarity Marches were organized in more than 50 cities in Pakistan (and the territories it administers) by the Student Action Committee, a young movement in the midst of radicalization and supported by teachers. The SAC brings together many organizations, some of which have been joined by other local movements and unions.

Their demands were directed at the government and university administrations. Following the mobilizations, the police selected several leftwing figures to arrest and charge with “subversion.”

These included Ammar Ali Jan, Farooq Tariq and Alamgir Wazir. Also charged was Iqbal Lala, father of Mashal Khan, the student lynched at Wali Khan University, Mardan. (Mashal Khan was killed by an angry mob in 2017 over false allegations of posting blasphemous content online. Actually he had been denouncing university mismanagement and had led protests against it.)

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan commented: “Students have the right to oppose fee hikes and budget cuts to higher education, and to call for an end to unnecessary interference by security forces on campus, for functional anti-harassment committees with student representation, and above all, for the restoration of student unions. HRCP stands in solidarity with all students taking part….”

January-February 2020, ATC 204

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