After the decision of the Quaid e Azam University (QAU) Islamabad’s syndicate to unban student unions on campus, the federal government of Pakistan has also followed the course by formulating a committee to discuss the prospects of the likely restoration of student unions across the country. The 14-member panel, comprising university vice-chancellors, researchers, and academicians, will deliver its report to the ministry within a span of 10 days.

A week ago, on September 20, 2023, the Senate’s Standing Committee on Education, led by Senator Irfan Siddiqui, engaged in extensive discussions regarding the resurrection of student unions. They emphasized that any revival should align with contemporary trends and the mindset of today’s youth. Members of the Senate committee unanimously agreed that the decades-old student unions should be reinstated. While reviewing the Islamabad Capital Territory Student Union Bill 2023, presented by Senator Bahramand Tangi, the committee acknowledged the longstanding, unaddressed issues of discrimination and injustice faced by students.

Though it’s a welcome move and a much-needed step in the direction the absence of stakeholders who were once active in student politics puts a question mark on this whole process. Those who know the history of student mobilization on campuses are aware of the fact that this platform provided necessary training in leadership and politics to the majority of our political class. If the committee decides to suggest a new working model for the student union, as opposed to the previous one, then the decision should be made with the consensus of all stakeholders, especially those student organizations who have been actively campaigning for the restoration of student unions for almost three decades.

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