ISLAMABAD: The situation in one of the top-ranked educational institution of the country, Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), is getting worse with each passing day due to the inflexible stance adopted by the protesting Academic Staff Association (ASA) members and Vice-Chancellor (VC) Dr Javed Ashraf, due to which all educational activities remained suspended in the varsity on the fifth consecutive day.
The protesting ASA members kept QAU closed on Friday while pressing for the acceptance of their one-point agenda demanding the immediate resignation of VC Dr Ashraf.
Owing to the on-going crisis, the students have suffered badly, but neither side was ready to budge an inch from their stated positions to pave the way for finding a suitable solution to the prevailing crisis.
The VC formulated a committee to ensure a negotiated settlement of the prevailing crisis, but despite holding various rounds of talks with both the parties, the committee did not succeed in making any major breakthrough in this regard.
The ASA was adamant that all activities in the varsity’s Transports section, Academic Block, and Administration Block would remain suspended till the resignation of the vice-chancellor.
The protestors said that their sole demand was the resignation of Dr Ashraf, adding that they would continue their protest till the acceptance of their demand.
The vice-chancellor said that the committee held meetings with protesting faculty members but could not reach an agreement in this connection. He said that ASA members were protesting for vested interests.
He further said that ASA was not allowing university buses to pick and drop students, due to which they were facing great difficulties.
Further, Dr Ashraf claimed that even the federal education ministry termed their demands illegal, who he said were wasting the precious time of students. He vowed not to resign on the demands of the ASA, come what may.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Member of National Assembly (MNA) Nafeesa Khattak met the protesting staffers and announced her party’s support for their cause.
She assured that the issue would be taken up in the National Assembly, saying that due to the government’s obliviousness, the country’s top university was facing such a severe crisis.
On the other hand, ASA President Dr Aqeel Bukhari said that despite being an important part of the educational system, no attention was being paid to the grievances of the academic staff.
He also said that admission fees in the university were drastically increased but there was no record where the funds were being actually spent.
Talking to Pakistan Today, students of the university said that the same academic staff and the VC had earlier criticised them when they were protesting for the acceptance of their demands, adding that now they were fighting for their vested interests which was hurting students the most.
The students said that they were branded as rioters and miscreants when they resorted to suspending bus service in the university. However, the same step was now being taken by ASA members, they added.
They demanded that both sides should sit together and find out a mutually agreed upon solution to save the precious time of students.