Pakistan: Students unite to struggle for their rights

The BNT recently held an important meeting of student federations from across Pakistan. The meeting brought together several progressive student federations from across Pakistan into one platform to struggle for student rights and the state of emergency declared by the Musharraf.

Pakistan: Students unite to struggle for their rightsThe Unemployed Youth Movement (Berozgar Nojawan Tehreek - BNT) organised a meeting on Sunday in Lahore in which student leaders of almost all the progressive student federations of Pakistan were present. In this meeting, student leaders belonging to different universities and colleges announced the formation of the Progressive Students' Action Committee (PSAC) Pakistan. They vowed to hold demonstrations across the country against the imposition of the state of emergency and in favour of students' rights on December 4.

They also agreed to continue their protests and will go on towards boycotting classes and start a long march to Islamabad if their demands are not met.

Pakistan: Students unite to struggle for their rightsThe meeting was held in three sessions. Participants of the first session expressed their resentment over the emergency in the country. They said owing to the ban on student unions, problems of the students had increased manifold. They added unemployment is a challenge being faced by students of the country while privatisation of education institutions had made it impossible for students to get education.

In the second session, the participants put forward their demands, which were agreed upon after a long debate. The demands which were finally agreed to are:

  • For the lifting of the state of emergency
  • An end of the role of army in economics, politics and education institutions
  • For the lifting of the ban on student unions
  • Acceptance of the right of self-determination for oppressed nationalities
  • An end to military operations in Balochistan and Pakhtoonkhwa
  • Total free education at all levels
  • An end to the class-based education system
  • Free travel for students on buses and trains throughout the country
  • Job opportunities for youth or unemployment allowance
  • An end to privatisation of educational institutions
  • Restoration of teachers' unions and acceptance of all of their demands
  • An end to anti-education policies of the Higher Education Commission HEC

United struggle against Imperialism and its institutions

A number of resolutions were also passed in the meeting. Through a resolution, students assured full support for the journalist community for freedom of the press and media in the country. Another resolution condemned the monopoly of the Islami Jamiat Tulaba, a reactionary state sponsored organisation at the Punjab University Lahore while assuring support to the students not affiliated with the IJT.

Pakistan: Students unite to struggle for their rightsIn the last session, the central body of the Progressive Students' Action Committee was announced, which include Paras Jan (president of the BNT), Adil Khan (president Jammu Kashmir National Students' Federation), Ejaz Yousafzai (president of the Peoples' Student Federation-NWFP), Afaq Mazhar (general secretary PSF-Balouchistan), Munir Baloch (Baloch Student Organisation-Mohaiyuddin Group), Zohaib Butt (Peoples' Student Federation Punjab), Omer Ahmad (President Student Union Federal Urdu University Karachi), Yasir Khaliq (Chairman Students' Action Committee Islamabad) and Ali Jan (Baghat Singh Cell-LUMS University Lahore).

At the end of the meeting solidarity messages were read from the student federations that were not able to attend the meeting. It was also agreed that student federations that agree with these demands and program will be affiliated at the next meeting.

The federations which sent messages were.

Jammu Kashmir Peoples' Student Federation JKPSF

Balouch Student Organization (Pajjar Group)

Pashtoon Student Federation

Pashtoonkhwa Student Organisation

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