–Protest held at Punjab University after student activist Alamgir Wazir goes ‘missing’
–PPP chief Bilawal terms FIR act of repression; MNA Moshin Dawar demands release of Alamgir
LAHORE: Lahore police on Sunday booked organisers of the Students Solidarity March on charges of sedition and public nuisance days after the protesters rallied at Charing Cross (Faisal Chowk) to demand the restoration of student unions and an end to the militarisation of educational institutes.
According to the contents of the FIR [first information report] filed at Civil Lines Police Station, Dr Ammar Ali Jan, Farooq Tariq, Alamgir Wazir, Iqbal Lala, Mohammad Shabir, and Kamil Khan were leading a march towards Faisal Chowk with around 250 to 300 people in tow.
It alleged that protesters forcefully blocked the roads and made provocative speeches against the state institution atop a stage.
“They were told to make the speeches without a megaphone but they did not listen to the police officers,” the complainant, an assistant sub-inspector, stated, adding that the incident was recorded on mobile phones which can be presented as evidence against the accused.
The police have included sections 290, 291, 124 A, the Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) Act, and the Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance in the FIR.
The decision to register cases against the organisers, especially the father of slain Mashaal Khan, was condemned by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in a tweet.
The PPP chief the government instead of providing justice to Iqbal Lala, whose son was lynched on false charges of blasphemy, has made cases against him. He termed the FIR a crackdown on progressive voices by the state.
It may be noted here that the student march was endorsed by people from all strata of society, including sitting ministers.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari and Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry had issued statements in the support of the march on Nove 29 and endorsed the call for the revival of the student unions.
ACTIVIST GOES ‘MISSING’:
Prior to the FIR, Alamgir Wazir, one of the persons mentioned in the complaint, went ‘missing’ from the Punjab University on Saturday. He is a former chairman of Punjab University’s Pakhtun Council and nephew of South Waziristan lawmaker Ali Wazir.
Soon after his disappearance, members of the Pakhtun Council staged a protest against the university administration.
Alamgir’s cousin said that the activist was abducted by ‘unidentified’ persons from the university. “He was visiting the campus to receive his degree in BS Gender Studies, which he had completed last year and was staying at Hostel 19 with me for the past two days,” he stated.
The protesters, who vowed to continue their protest until Alamgir Wazir is released, said that Alamgir was last seen outside the Hall Council in PU New Campus on Saturday when some unidentified people arrived in a vehicle and took him away from gate number 14 of the campus around 5 pm.
Iqbal Town Superintendent of Police (SP) Ajmal Khan said that they had received a complaint and were looking into it.
On the other hand, MNA Mohsin Dawar and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari called for Alamgir’s release.
In a tweet, Dawar said that Alamgir Khan Wazir had been picked up by “na malooms” from PU.
Alamgir Khan Wazir (Ali Wazir’s nephew) has been picked up by d “Na Malooms” a few hours ago from Punjab University. This is extremely condemnable & Sharamnak we demand immediate release of Alamgir and the perpetrators must be charged for this Un lawful Act. #ReleaseAlamgirWazir pic.twitter.com/fHe3p03Uo7
— Mohsin Dawar (@mjdawar) November 30, 2019
“This is extremely condemnable & sharamnak we demand the immediate release of Alamgir and the perpetrators must be charged for this unlawful act,” he said.
Moreover, the Lahore Progressive Academics’ Collective also released a statement demanding the immediate release of Alamgir Wazir in addition to the withdrawal of the FIR registered against Dr Ammar Ali Jan, Alamgir Wazir, Farooq Tariq, Iqbal Lala, Muhammad Shabbir, and Kamil Khan.
The Progressive Academics’ Collective (Lahore) demands the immediate release of Alamgir Wazir & the withdrawal of the FIR registered against Dr. Ammar Ali Jan, Alamgir Wazir, Farooq Tariq, Iqbal Lala, Muhammad Shabbir, & Kamil Khan. #ReleaseAlamgirWazir #StudentsSolidarityMarch pic.twitter.com/W4akpjkb9C
— Nida Kirmani (@nidkirm) December 1, 2019
The Student Solidarity March which was held across the country on Friday had presented a charter of demands, including the restoration of student unions and better education facilities.
Addressing participants of the march in front of the Punjab Assembly on Mall Road, Alamgir had expressed sorrow for the Pashtun youth. “Had the youth of Waziristan not been killed-kidnapped, there would have been hundreds of Pashtun students taking part in the march,” he had said.
He had also criticised the military establishment for alleged atrocities in Waziristan and accused the military of stealing natural resources from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan.