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Absolute Campus Control and Beyond

Saeed MandukhelStudent politics is a distinctive feature of Pakistani universities and colleges. Ostensibly, student politics in Pakistan is embraced to prepare a young cadre of political leadership that may in a better way confront future political challenges. As a result, since the inception of Pakistan there have emerged two opposing polls of political unions: The leftist like Awami League Student Union, DSF, NSF, PSF, Pashtun SF, PSO and Baloch Students Organization; and right wing student Unions like IJT, MSF, APMSO, JTI and ISF.

Unfortunately, campus politics in Pakistan serves vested political interests. More often politics at campuses produces the worst educational environment. With diverse political groups that usually remain engaged in a perpetuated state of war with each other, student politics often leads to chaos, destruction and bitter suppressing. The most organized and a deep-rooted political union in a given university will go to any length and breadth to maintain its hegemony and torture the opposition.

As matter of time and space, this article will only deliberate upon Islami Jamiat Talaba in detail.

In Pakistan in the first three decades student politics saw a steady rise and a consequent relative hold of NSF and DSF. Replacing the latter either through terror or torture, from the last three decades IJT has tightened its grip on many universities in Pakistan. Additionally, it serves as a nursery in passing out an emotional militant blood into the ranks of its sister organizations like Al-Badar and Shabab-e-Mili. Moreover, IJT works as a collaborator between the right wing political and militant student organizations and International terrorist groups like Al-Qaida and ISIS.

As its umbrella student wing, IJT was formed by the Jamaat-i-Islami in December 1947. It was in the era of Ayoub’s martial law that IJT, as an alternative to the leftist DSF and NSF was pushed ahead in the student politics to undermine the left. Still more, through literature of Syed Abu Ala Maududi, IJT had been utilize to counter and eliminate provincial politics that was taking place among the Pakistani nationalists. The latter task of the IJT found itself in an unending war with Pashtun nationalist student unions like PSF and PSO, Baloch Student Organization, Sariaki Student Council; and more importantly with Bengali nationalist student union, etc.

Most importantly, since 1950 it was the case of so-called Kashmir freedom that had been an impetus for the smooth ascendance of right wing politics. In this regard IJT was fully utilized to provide for a teenage emotional cadre what the 50’s Jang editor calls “a well trained army that will be used to fight for a cause in which the state will pay no regular salaries and may not be held responsible for interfering in Kashmir”.

Explaining the above point Jahanzeb, the 1990’s matriculate says they were sent to Kashmir to be trained to fight the occupied forces in Kashmir. He believes the Jamiat training camps in Kashmir had the most skilled trainers and comments their training might far be better from any state owned military training. In fact, to this end AJK University, Punjab University, Karachi University, Peshawer University and International Islamic University have been a fertile field providing IJT with abundant Jihad crazies.

Furthermore, it was the so-called Afghan Jihad saga that had a space for right-wing Pakistanis. Indirectly, “Free Kashmir Campaign” proved to be the prelude to a bloody Afghan war that till date accommodates the youngest educated blood poured down by the Jamiat and its off-springs like Al-Bader, Shabaab-e-Mili, Talba Arbia and IJT.

In inter-Jamiat ideology IJT plays a pivotal role of ‘field nursery’ for providing militants and extremists to its in-field militant organizations like Shabab Mili and Albadar. Furthermore, IJT remains a promising source for intra-militant organization like Al-Qaida, ISIS, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangwi and Jesh-e-Muhammad. Two instances in this regard may be an ample proof: 1. In Sep 2013 when an Al-Qaida mastermind terrorist was arrested from IJT occupied hostel room in Punjab University Lahore; 2. when a Jamiat Talaba Arbia Student who was ethnically Khattak, having studied Sharia and law at International Islamic University Islamabad, exploded in Kabul.

Homood-Ur-Rahman Commission unfolds that the 1971 debacle had the greatest share of brutalities from Al-Badar, Al-Shabab, the Jamiat and the IJT. The former three were directly involved in the mass killing of some 400 Bengali intellectuals. And the latter tortured and killed many Bengali students who were deemed seeking provincial autonomy, asking for Bengali as a national language and celebrating Tagor’s international fame what the IJT would call a conspiracy to undermine Iqbal’s stature. Furthermore, the “rape, butcher and throw into well” Bengali story is unforgettable. In this regard the “Thunder Squad” havoc is still afresh in the memories of Bengalis.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi, an eyewitness of UET Peshawer incident (2010) narrates that IJT members stormed a hostel room and beat a student with sticks and hit him with stones till the student died. As reported the nascent was killed for listening music.  Furthermore, Salman Masood reports, at Punjab University IJT members in June (2011) beat a male student for sitting too close to a female colleague – an act they deemed un-Islamic. Zeeba T Hashmi, a columnist with daily Times writes “girls get harassed and attacked by the activists of Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) for playing cricket on the campus of Karachi University”

Moreover, at International Islamic University Islamabad Pashtunkhwa Students Organization (PSO) had arranged a gathering to celebrate the second naming anniversary of Khyber Pashtunkhwa in 2011 which IJT raided by leaving some 20 students badly injured. Abid narrates, with hockey sticks in hands and chanting slogans of Allaho Akbar, IJT activists broke into the students activity centre, beat the participants and broke everything available over there. Farooq, the invited guest to the programme who unfortunately got severely beaten says he saw IJT activists holding two Kalashnikovs and a pistol and also wearing chest safety jackets. Most importantly, many of the participants from IJT in this incident were found outsiders. Later on, it was disclosed by an activists of IJT that those unknown persons who plundered the ceremony were members of Shabab-e-Mili, especially invited by the IJT as if to fight the infidels.

The very recent militant act of IJT at Punjab University that has injured many Baloch students is yet an instance of adding insult into injury. As reported there are two versions to this incident: 1. Baloch were beaten as a revenge for The Quetta Gladiators win over Lahore Qalanders. Students from Balochistan perhaps might have celebrated the win which was deemed as an insult to the much applauded and easily downed Lahorites. In other words “beat the students of Balochistan if you cannot beat their team”. In fact, the indigestible win of Gladiators might have led to this gruesome act of violence. 2. Students from Balochistan were celebrating Valentine’s Day which evangelical IJT activists holds as un-Islamic, thus protested it by giving a vent to their pent emotions through bloody tortures.

The puritanical brand of faith the IJT imbues suits well the agenda of state to use it as a tool. State suppresses any voice of dissidence and claim for a fair share of rights, resources and opportunities through an onslaught of IJT’s propaganda. In fact, this unholy alliance shall be termed as “mullah-mercenary nexus” which in Foucault’s words legitimizes unthinkable discrepancies of a state.

Writer: Saeed Ullah Jan Mandokhail

The writer is a cultural critic and political analyst. He can be approached on Facebook. Email: mandokhail85@gmail.com


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