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Monday, April 15, 2024

PM Khan promises restoration of student unions on international standards

Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced his willingness to restore and enable student unions and stressed that they play an instrumental role in grooming future leaders of the country.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Sunday, announced his decision to “restore and enable” student unions and allow them to play a part in grooming future leaders of the country.

The Premier said that Pakistan will learn from the best practices in the world and erect student unions on the models adopted by internationally renowned universities.

Student unions groom leaders

Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Imran said, “We will establish a comprehensive & enforceable code of conduct, learning from the best practices in internationally renowned universities, so that we can restore & enable student unions to play their part in positively grooming our youth as future leaders of the country.”

Prime Minister Khan cautioned that in the past, student unions destroyed the intellectual atmosphere of universities by engaging in violence.

He said, “Universities groom future leaders of the country & student unions form an integral part of this grooming. Unfortunately, in Pakistan universities’ student unions became violent battlegrounds & completely destroyed the intellectual atmosphere on campuses.”

Earlier on Sunday, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, had announced that the Premier has ordered the Federal and Provincial governments to devise a comprehensive strategy to ensure that students’ rights are protected and their issues are speedily resolved.

Taking to Twitter, Dr. Firdous said, “The youth is a valuable asset of the country and our hope for a bright future.” She said that realizing the dreams of the young generation is a fundamental mission for Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Read more: FIR against participants of Student Solidarity March raises questions about rule of law

SAPM observed that students demanding their rights reflect a youth that is increasingly conscious and concerned about its future.

Dr. Firdous said, “Our students are the power that will usher in a new wave of development, and dynamic diplomatic leadership in the country. These students will stand tall in the face of every challenge.”

These decisions have been ushered in after students and activists across the country have taken to the streets for the Student Solidarity March, called by the Student Action Committee (SAC) to advocate for its charter of demands.

The student protestors demand a restoration of the budget for the Higher Education Commission, put an end to dismissals of academics, allocating 5% of the GDP for educational reforms, nationalizing education institutes and eliminating the recent increments in fees.

The students also called for establishing committees across educational institutes to launch an inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment, alongside ensuring that these committees also represent students. Moreover, they demanded that the offices of security forces must be removed from university campuses.

Read more: What do academics think of the Student Unions in Pakistan?

However, the students leading the march have also come under fire for their “anti-state statements” against the government and the army, and many of the organizers and students have been booked under sedition charges.

Observing the rising demands for student unions, Dr. Moeed Pirzada, a prominent political commentator, said, “Strong opinions exist on both sides and many fear that student unions provide tools to political parties for exercising control! But Student Unions can be positive too! A framework should be debated for stepwise resurrection!”