There is no denial of the fact that student unions across the world have played an essential role in the democratic process. They emerged of their respective times and circumstances to protect the fundamental and educational rights of the students in campuses. The unions were or are influenced by the leftist ideology. Belonging to lift, they drew a sharp line between the student unions and the right-wing ideologues. As a result, this divide embroiled both ideologues in a constant fight.
The right-wing seemed student unions as a perilous threat to its domination of the state of affairs. And resorted to suppress them with a heavy hand. Following the government oppressive designs against student unions, the unions united and grew stronger challenging the existing governments and finally influencing them.
As luck would have it, student unions’ fate was no different from others in Pakistan. Given the fact that before the independence of Pakistan, students of Aligarh college played a major role in the Pakistan Movement. But once Pakistan formed, subsequently dominated by feudal, landlords and industrialists, students were sharply sided and reduced to sub ordinary positions.
The ruling section saw in student unions an existential threat to their domination. The state officialdom began crushing student unions. The most perilous challenge came from Zia regime. In 1984 the Zia dictatorial regime banned all student unions, except Jamiat Islami, functional in universities across the country. Consequently, students were made apolitical. The purpose was mainly to extend his regime. Since then a generation of apolitical students gave birth in Pakistan, damaging all the democratic processes.
Hopefully, now the students have awakened to the grim reality of depoliticization, following some horrific incidents on campuses. The recent among them is Balochistan University Scandal where cameras were installed to film students’ private gatherings, violating student privacy. Students showed their final resolve to move to student unionism. This impression came under the spotlight when students chanted revolutionary poetries at Faiz Festival. This is a positive step by students to come to mainstream politics. This very step is bound to produce such good and committed leaders to benefit the country.
The writer has completed MA in Pakistan Studies and belongs to the Awaran district.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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