For nearly four decades, Pakistan’s educated and socially conscious class has found itself without representation. The call for immediate student union elections, a fundamental right of students, has been passionately voiced by the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) Pakistan.
The recent formation of a committee by the Ministry of Education to resurrect student unions is seen as a glimmer of hope for the nation’s future builders. However, it is disappointing to note that for 39 years, students have been denied their fundamental and constitutional rights. Rather than taking tangible steps, authorities have remained preoccupied with committee formations.
In 2022, the Sindh government took a commendable step by reinstating student unions following a 38-year hiatus, aiming to empower the nation’s youth and reverse a dark chapter of authoritarianism. Nonetheless, it is disheartening that a year has elapsed since this legislation, yet there has been no progress in conducting student union elections, despite their formal reinstatement.
The Sindh government pledged student union elections over a year ago, and according to the legislation passed, students should have the opportunity to participate in university elections and secure their representation in syndicates.
The federal Ministry of Education has established a committee in the hope of addressing student concerns within educational institutions. Previous initiatives during the tenure of former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani aimed to revive student unions. Regrettably, these efforts yielded no tangible results, and students continued to be excluded from the decision-making process.
We demand that the Sindh government honor its commitment by promptly conducting peaceful student union elections in educational institutions. We also call upon the federal government to take an active role in expediting the revival of student unions and elections. The time for action is long overdue, and the voices of Pakistan’s future leaders must not go unheard any longer.