Speakers at two seminars at the city’s key universities on Thursday demanded the government to restore students’ unions in all colleges and universities through Pakistan to ensure the provision of the fundamental right to all citizens.

“For a democratic dispensation, students unions and trade unions play an important role but unfortunately students unions have been banned since the Martial period in the 1980s,” said a speaker at a seminar on Awareness of Human Rights: “All human, all equal” at Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST).

The other seminar was held at Sindh Madrasa tul Islam University. These seminars were part of the Human Rights Week being celebrated by the Human Rights Department, Government of Sindh from December 6 to 10.

Speaking at SZABIST Special Assistant to the Sindh Chief Minister on Human Rights Surendar Valasai said the provincial government has made concerted efforts to protect the rights of people. He said Pakistan People’s Party has a glorious history of struggle for democracy and people’s fundamental rights.

He said under the guidance of PPP Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the provincial government is celebrating a week of human rights.

Dr Riaz Shaikh, head of Social Sciences at SZABIST said giving respect and dignity to human beings is a human right. He recalled that after World War – II the nations of the world joined hands and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was passed. This declaration not only included duties but responsibilities as well.

Naghma Iqtidar, a human rights and students rights activist said due to the continuous ban on students religious extremism has increased in society. Zulfiqar Shah, a human rights activist and a member of the Sindh Human Rights Commission asked the students to actively take part in politics.

Jawed Sibghatullah Mahar, Secretary, Human rights department of Government of Sindh said Sindh was the first province, which has made a separate department for human rights. During Human Rights week, the department has received 400 essays in the competition among colleges and universities students. The three best essays in each English, Sindhi and Urdu would be awarded. Speaking at Sindh Madressah Mr Javed Sibghatullah said that it is a need of the hour to ensure that these rights are protected through joint efforts.

Vice-Chancellor Sindh Madrasa tul Islam University Prof. Dr Mujeeb-ud-Din Sehrai Memon shared his observations and experiences with the students. Earlier, Dr Sobash and Zeenia Shaukat also spoke on the occasion.

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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