Iqbal Day Protest at LUMS

A fellow sent this report on Friday’s Iqbal Day happenings at LUMS. Students and faculty members again joined hands to raise a voice against opression and injustice.

Friday, November 9, 2007

On the 5th Day of protests at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, students organised a peaceful gathering, characterised by motivational speeches by students and a faculty member, as well as rousing poetry to mark Iqbal Day, Allama Iqbal being widely known as the Poet of the East, who was a moving force behind the very idea of Pakistan. This was followed by a protest march across the campus. This march from the sports auditorium to the cafeteria has become a veritable tradition for these students in the past few days, a symbol of their persisting resistance against accepting the imposition of emergency rule, which many regard as Pakistan’s third martial law.

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There were further emotive speeches protesting injustice. One of the chief grievances of the students was the repressive behavior of the security forces towards other university students’ who had held demonstrations. Reports of police brutality towards students of FAST and UET were the talk of the campus today. The university was barricaded by riot police on Wednesday and dozens of male and female police officers on Thursday. On Wednesday, officers armed with long batons snooped all over the university premises prior to the rally, perhaps in order to intimidate protestors. Today, though, there was no sign of the police outside the gates, much to the relief of the students, some of whom are beginning to get a positively hedged-in feeling by this time. After all, it has been a long time since most Pakistanis have experienced such a highly repressive environment and this conciousness has been especially increased, after the unprecendently freeer hand the media was given by the Musharraf regime until recently.

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At today’s rally, many students could be seen wielding placards critising the ban on free media. It is disheartening to see the freedom of press and journalists so curtailed at this time when practically every individual and household in the country is thirsting for news of ongoing developments in the country. Despite the fact that college was off today due to the national holiday of Iqbal Day, the turnout of students turned out to be higher than expected by most with male students joining the protest straight after Namaz-e Juma’. Faculty was also present, especially the members of the Law faculty who have proved to be the strongest source of support for the students’ initiative.

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After the march, some more emotive speeches were made, further heartfelt poetry was recited and the latest issue of the publication, The Emergency Times, conveying updates and opinions about events relating to the university students’ movement and wider national political developments, was distributed. A crowd, exhausted by the strain of balancing efforts of protest as well as the intense workload of upcoming exams, finally dispersed on the note that they would gather again very soon to raise their voice against the prevailing state of oppression, and keep gathering until peace and justice in Pakistan was restored. As yet, repeated appeals to the military government by various actors seem to have had little effect on the government in terms of policy, as emerging news warns that security forces are being more brutal than ever in attacking protestors. Not much confidence is being placed in Presidential assurances of the imminent end of emergency rule and fresh elections being just around the corner, raising the question in many people’s mind – where to from here? One thing is for sure, as long as the present situation prevails, the determination of the students is not going low by any means.

Report & Pictures by Bluangelo

2 Comments so far

  1. OpenEyes (unregistered) on November 10th, 2007 @ 3:37 pm

    Therik-e-Azadi Pakistan:

    call it Therik-e-Azadi Pakistan everywhere. This country is for Public, civilians and Rule of Law, not for Armed Forces, police and Agencies.

    Speed Up this Therik don’t let it die as such momentum take hundreds of years to built

    Good luck to all of us


  2. Fauzan (unregistered) on November 10th, 2007 @ 6:48 pm

    ‘This country is for Public, civilians and Rule of Law, not for Armed Forces, police and Agencies.’

    @ OPENEYES, a minor correction my friend to your statement above:

    This country is for the public, civilians, the rule of law, along with the Armed Forces, the police the agencies :)



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