Friday, November 16, 2007

Some Clarifications..

With regard to the article "LUMS students refuse to meet BB", whichappeared in the News International's Tuesday, November 13th edition.
The LUMS Student Movement asserts that it appears that the article isbased on sources which have either ingeniously or ingenuouslymisrepresented events. All that is clear that the facts of the matterhave been completely twisted, as represented in the article. Muhtarma's Benazir Bhutto's invitation for a conference withrepresentatives of the LUMS students movement was not at all broughtto the LUMS campus by any US journalists. In fact, no US journalisthas even visited the campus in recent memory. The invitation was, in fact, brought to our students through a PPP party worker who isrelated to one of the student protestors at LUMS. Furthermore, themeeting with Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto was not in fact canceled on anypretext such as the final exam of the students, nor did "LUMS students refuse to meet BB". That is a gross misrepresentation of the realfacts. The meeting was actually called off by the PPP itself, as itcould not be fitted into the schedule for Monday night. The reasonthat LUMS students gave for not being able to accept the invitation at a future date was that not having a student leader structure, throughwhich nominated representatives of the student body can hold meetingswith individuals or groups on behalf of the rest of the student body,it was in fact not in the power of any participant to accept theMuhtarma's invitation on behalf of the student body. However, LUMSstudents certainly desire an opportunity to interact with a prominentpolitical figure of Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto's stature and would be honoured if she would accept their invitation to visit LUMS andaddress the student body as a whole as a guest of the Law and PoliticsSociety of LUMS, which has organised similar seminars in the past.

Press Release of the LUMS Student movement
As our movement gains in strength, support, momentum and therefore,media attention, the students of the protest movement at the Lahore University of Management Sciences would like to clarify our position on a number of points.
Our movement is fundamentally a non-partisan, civil society movement which was begun by students last week as a spontaneous reaction against the imposition of a state of emergency in our country. We are united in a clear and principled commitment to the reinstatement ofthe judiciary and the restoration of the Constitution and of basic civil rights, the release of illegally detained prisoners and an end to preposterous curbs on the media. Our aim is to uphold and defend the autonomy of the judiciary in Pakistan. As we increase communication with students from other educational institutions in thecountry, we are confident and hopeful that we can all unite behind a particular principle - the critical necessity of the sovereignty of the judiciary for sustainable political and social development in Pakistan.
With regard to recent invitations to meetings with prominent political figures, we would like to assert that our student movement is a civils ociety initiative which is completely non-partisan, having no affiliation with any political party and no future ambition of forming one. Nor have our actions in any way been in accordance with the directives or motivation of any political leader. The participants of our studentmovement are all private individuals, with a diverse range of personal political leanings. As we have no student leaders who are invested with the right of representing the political leanings of a particular group of students, it is not within the power of any participant of our movement to accept an invitation to meet with representatives of political parties on behalf of other students.
We would like to stress that anyone from the student movement who engages in a 'dialogue' or interaction with political parties, their agents or their student wings, does so solely in her/his personal capacity and does not, by any means, represent the student body of LUMS or the student community at large.
The purpose of our student movement is solely to rally around particular issues or principles and increase awareness of Pakistan's socio-political realities in the student body. However, as university students, we are always very eager to widen our horizons and meet with different political figures. Our Law and Politics Society (LPS) frequently invites eminent personalities of politics, academia, the social sector and the media, and arranges seminars as an opportunity for the student body to intellectually engage with these individuals and benefit from their knowledge and experience. In the recent past,we have hosted such prominent figures as Mr. Talat Hussein (of Aaj TV), Mr. Imran Khan and Justice Jawad Khwaja. In the coming months before the elections, the Law and Politics Society plans to invite leading figures from major political parties to talk to our student body about their manifestos and ideas for Pakistan's development. Some politicians, such as Mr. Imran Khan, with whom we have had the opportunity to interact, have already been invited for a seminar prior to the elections.
As far as the recent invitation by Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto is concerned, while it is not within the power of any individual or group of students to accept the invitation on behalf of the student movement, it would be a pleasure for our Law and Politics Society to host the Muhtarma as a guest speaker at a seminar with the entire student body, should our invitation be accepted.
With regard to the comment from Mr. Muhammad Islam of the Islami Jamiat-e Tuleba:-"Muhammad Islam said IJT would launch a massive awareness campaignamong students to mobilize them against the state of emergency in thecountry. He informed that the Islami Jamiat-e Tuleba was in contactwith students of other universities including LUMS and FAST-NU."(Students invoke black, week, armbands to protest. Khalid Khattak, The News International)
We would like to clarify that there have been no dealings between the student movement at our university and the Islami Jamiat-e Tuleba in an official capacity. We cannot, of course, comment on the activities of any private individual from our university, who has engaged withthe IJT in a purely personal capacity.

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