ISLAMABAD: Students of Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) ended their hunger strike on Thursday after the university agreed to their restoration following a meeting between the vice-chancellor (VC) and Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Baligh-ur-Rehman.
However, actually, it was Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Sahi and Farah Azeem Shah, an author and a social activist, who played a key role in the amicable solution to the issue.
The participants of the hunger strike were facing serious health issues due to which the QAU administration called an urgent meeting and announced to restore the students.
In a notification issued by the QAU, the expulsion of the students has been replaced with an additional fine of Rs40,000. The punishment for rustication for two semesters was also replaced with Rs25,000 fine.
Strict warning letters have been issued to the students for their involvement in the clash which took place in May and they are required to submit apology letters and assurances from parents or guardians against their involvement in “recurrence of similar acts”.
The students who were on a hunger strike ended their strike after being informed of the decisions taken in the meeting which was also attended by the varsity syndicate.
The crisis at the QAU had initiated when protests by the students forced the university to be shut down for more than two weeks last month.
They demanded the restoration of students expelled after a clash on campus in May, as well as a recall of fee hike among other demands.
After intense, but successful negotiations between VC Javed Ashraf and the students, the university was re-opened. The QAU Students Federation’s Baloch Council, however, had claimed that the VC had not kept his word as its members were not allowed to sit in the syndicate meeting according to his announcement following negotiations.
The issue became serious when Police resorted to use force to end the strike of the protesting students and detained over 70 students mainly belonging to the Baloch Council, as Balochistan Republican Party President Brahumdagh Bugti strongly reacted to it and tweeted, “Use of force against protesting Baloch students in Islamabad is another example of how the state wants to keep Baloch away from education.”
Afterwards, the Balochistan chief minister and Balochistan home minister visited the university and held several meetings with the VC and other high-ups to find out an amicable solution to the problems, so that the issue could not be used by some disgruntled Baloch politicians for their vested political agenda.
The students then resorted to a hunger strike which eventually led to their demands being met today.