Campus violence

NATIONAL Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) was established back in 2008 but it took almost a decade to make it fully operational and play its due role in making Pakistan safe and secure. The Authority not only sensitised all concerned about threats to political leaders and political parties during the on-going election campaign but is also interacting with other stakeholders to counter violence and terrorist threat. It brought together on Wednesday and Thursday more than 150 Vice Chancellors, faculty members and students of 25 universities of the country to discuss the burning issue of campus violence and how to stem it.
Despite greater awareness among parents, students and teachers, campus violence persists in our campuses with serious implications for state of education and society in the country. Clashes are regularly reported by national media between student wings of various religious, political and ethnic parties of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Students in most of the public sector universities including Punjab University, Karachi University, Abdul Wali Khan University, Quaid-i-Azam University, International Islamic University and Federal Urdu University are deeply polarised along linguistic, sectarian and political lines. It is because of this mindset and some other issues that, according to a survey among the top 100 universities of Asia, none is from Pakistan even though some of them were established many decades ago. There is, therefore, dire need to stamp out the curse of violence from public sector universities but for that to happen besides firm administrative measures by transparently appointed heads, support of teachers, students and parents is also a must. Higher education is foundation for research and development and therefore a poor country like Pakistan can hardly afford to allow investment of billions of rupees on higher education to go waste due to political and other agendas of students and their political masters and manipulators. There are also reports that militant groups also try to recruit on university campuses and this calls for counter-radicalisation measures. We are sure that the NACTA-sponsored conference would help crystallise these and other related issues and would be followed by strict and time-bound measures to seriously address the problem of campus violence once for all.

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