Tuesday, November 6, 2007

LUMS Students raise their voice against Injustice

The Students of LUMS, the so-called elitist brats that we have so often been labeled and signed off as, proved their mettle today, to not only the lawyers they joined in protest outside the High Court, but also in the example that they set today when they turned up in hundreds to protest on campus, outside the PDC. Yes the very depoliticized student society that our leaders have taken for granted and grown so accustomed to, has awoken from its decades long slumber with a roar, that enough is enough. No longer are we going to be conformist to our governments policies, as if we have no choice, no longer are we going to be scared to question or raise our voice because we are intimidated by the state’s power and what may be done to us; no longer are we going to refrain from action, from sheer complacency.

And the students of LUMS set this in motion today.

The frustration and excitement was evident on campus today. People had spent a tense weekend worsened by the fact that there was a total information blackout by the government. Many spent sleepless nights calling each other for fresh news, hearing news of instructors and loved ones having been arrested, while at the same time desperately following foreign news outlets online in hope for hearing good news. Hence, the mood today was somber and everyone had a lot to experss. Word of mouth and mobile smses had established the time for a public rally at around 1.20. It didn’t take too long for a large crowd of students predominantly dressed in black to assemble outside the pdc.

The rally began with an somber address by Osama Siddique, giving an update on the status of faculty members that had been held in detention. The faculty members being Professor Ali Cheema, Aasim Sajjad and Bilal Minto. We were informed that after spending the night in detention they were being moved under heavy security surveillance to be placed under house arrest. He further explained the legal implications of the martial law, how it was not only illegal, but the state of emergency clause was only applicable under the Constitution by the President, hence in the current situation where the Constitution was illegal, not only was the martial law illegal but the legitimacy if the current government was also invalid.

Osama Siddique’s addressed was followed up by Rasul Baksh Rais, who complimented the crowd for turning up at the rally and showing everyone that they were not going to sit quietly while the situation deteriorated in the country. He told us this was in fact an opportunity for us to take the destiny of the country in our own hands, that we are luckier than the earlier generation because of globalization and easy access to the media. Yet he warned us that in the current situation we faced a tougher battle than the students had in his times. He said the current situation was reminiscent of Ayubs era of crackdown on political parties and students, because this was a desperate government on its last leg of power and would not stop at anything to cling on to what by whatever means.

After a brief assurance and encouragement by Justice Jawad Khwaja along the same lines as the earlier speakers, students who had gone to the High Court to protest were given a heroes welcome by the LUMS Community. These students spoke about how this fight was not simply against one dictator, by an entire system of our individual rights being compromised, and how we need to organize and fight NOW.

With the students all charged up and emotional after the speeches, the rally began. People raised slogans against Musharraf and martial law, and demanded restoration of democracy. High pitched slogans of “Go Musharraf Go!” “ Nahi Chelagi Nahi Chelegai!” filled the air, there was an estimated 600-strong crowd plus faculty members who had turned up in support. The crowd marched around the academic block a number of times, an unprecedented occurrence in the history of this university.

We shall always remember these days, people. Let it be for the right reasons.


Bilal said...

reading this post makes me proud. please keep up the good work. we need much more of it.

Khurram said...

Amazing - the students are doing an amazing job - we'd like to see more sad expressions on faces than smiles.

Farrukh Zafar said...

Nice to see ponderers among the youth.There is hope for us yet. On behalf of the FASTians, I assure you that we fully second you.
Think more, think deep... battle the disease and not waste time regretting the symptoms!