A violent clash between members of two students bodies at Punjab University left dozens injured on Monday, forcing the university administration to call in law enforcement agencies to put things in order.
The clash between Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) and Pakthun Baloch Students Union (PBSU) began early on Monday at the university’s Electrical Engineering department, where IJT had planned to hold Pioneer’s Festival. It was there that the clash initiated. Things escalated quickly from there, with rival students engaging in physical skirmishes as well as stone pelting. The battle even resulted in vandalism, as one of the rooms in the Electrical Engineering department was also set on fire by as yet unidentified persons. The clashes later spread to the Administration Block and several other parts of the university, forcing the university officials to call in security personnel.
A large contingent of police arrived at the university shortly after, however, traditional riot control measures like baton charge further angered the protesters. Police eventually resorted to firing tear gas shells in order to disperse the protesters. Security officials also rounded up several students. More than a dozen students injured in the clashes were moved to Sheikh Zayed and Jinnah hospitals for first aid. Students belonging to the IJT later protested outside the VC office and on the Canal Road, blocking the Campus Underpass for traffic for a while.
Talking to newsmen later, PU Vice Chancellor Dr Zakaria Zakir said he had formed a committee to look into the matter and bring the culprits to the book. He said those involved in the incident would be punished without discrimination and the administration would uphold the rule of law at the university at all costs. The VC said the investigative committee would scour available CCTV footages to identify the miscreants, adding that the incident was preplanned and aimed at bringing disrepute to the university.
Higher Education Minister Syed Raza Ali Gillani, Lahore Police CCPO Amin Wains and DIG Operations Haider Ashraf also visited the university later and held a meeting with PU officials. Gilllani told reporters that strict action would be taken against those involved in the incident. “We will not allow anyone to form an organisation inside an organisation. This is the time to learn from the past and take action to avoid such incidents in the future,” he said.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has also taken notice of the incident and sought a report from the CCPO.