NA supports bill for restoration of student unions
December 11, 2019
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – Members of the National Assembly on Tuesday supported the restoration of student unions. The debate on the issue started in the House when Pakistan Muslim League-N's Kesoo Mal Kheeal Das introduced a bill to amend the Higher Education Commission Ordinance 2002 for ending ban on the student unions. Initially, some of the treasury members and ministers opposed the bill, saying that the government had already constituted a committee on the issue and Prime Minister Imran Khan is in favour of students politics. Later, however, a number of ministers supported the bill and asked the chair to refer it to the concerned committee. The bill was subsequently referred to the NA education committee for further deliberations after members from across the divide supported it. PML-N's Khawaja Asif also endorsed the bill, saying the student unions should be restored as youth of the country were mature. The students had recently held peaceful demonstrations in different parts of the country, he added. Sharing her experiences as a faculty member at the Quaid-e-Azam University for 16 years, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said ban on the student unions fanned ethnic and sectarian tendencies and led to violence. “The student unions could stop polarization and violence at the universities,” she said, adding students should be given representation and they should be encouraged to take interest in political issues. She said Prime Minister Imran Khan supported the idea of student unions and the government would come up with its own bill. PPP Nafeesa Shah said voice of the students should be heard as youth were 60 percent of the population. “Like traders, farmers, labourers, teachers and officers, who had their associations, students should also be given their democratic rights,” she added. PML-N's Khawaja Saad Rafique said student politics should be allowed within certain parameters and peaceful atmosphere in institutions should be ensured. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's Ali Nawaz Awan said student unions in other countries were limited to their participation in activities of debating and cultural societies. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said the basic purpose of students was to get education. While seconding views of the parliamentarians, he referred to the visit of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to Islamia College Peshawar on April 12, 1948.