Sindh Assembly recommends lifting ban on student unions

The Sindh Provincial Assembly adopted a resolution on Monday recommending the government to lift ban on student unions (student governments) in educational institutions.

The Sindh Assembly met for more than two hours to deliberate the idea attended by Parliamentary leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) also.

Moved by a PPP lawmaker, the house adopted a resolution recommending the government to lift the ban on student unions at educational institutions.

Prior to Gen Zia ul Haq’s 11-year military dictatorship, student unions exisited in all major higher education institutions and served as nurseries for healthy politics, extra-curricular activities, and provided platforms for student debates on issues of civic and national importance.

Since the 80s such activities in colleges and universities remained banned on grounds that it breeds gun-culture, extremism, sectarianism, etc.

Some known Pakistani leaders and politicians who actively led or participated in student governments during their time are: Benazir Bhutto, Javed Hashmi, Raza Rabbani, Liaquat Baloch, Sheikh Rashid, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Rana Sanaullah, Aftab Sherpao, Aitzaz Ahsan, Mumtaz Bhutto, Najeeb Haroon, Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Altaf Shakoor, Ayaz Latif Palijo.

Despite the ban, political parties, religious and sectarian organizations continued to operate unofficially and unchecked in many of the institutions countrywide, filling the space and marginalizing the apolitical class.

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