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70 Baloch students arrested in Islamabad

Islamabad police arrested 70 students on Monday in a bid to reopen the Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) university, which has remained closed for over two weeks due to a student-admin showdown.

Negotiations were said to have been successful last week, with the students agreeing to end the strike after the vice chancellor announced that the university’s syndicate meetings would also include students.

However, the syndicate members on Friday disallowed students of the QAU Students Federation’s Baloch Council from attending the meeting.

The syndicate also upheld the expulsion of students, which the protesters had been seeking to overturn, while conceding ground on the withdrawal of a 10 per cent increase in fees. It also accepted 12 other demands placed by the students.

The Baloch Council, which has been leading the protests, has since continued their agitation. The other five councils have called their strike off.

“It has been brought to my notice that some ex-students and outsiders accompanied by the present students started disrupting the normal functioning of the departments and harassed the faculty and staff,” a letter from the QAU Vice Chancellor (VC) Javed Ashraf to the chief commissioner Islamabad police, sent on Monday, read.

He also requested reinforcements from police “to avert any untoward incident”.

Baloch Council Chairman Kamran Baloch and other students allege that Baloch students are being victimised by the university administration. The council demands that expelled Baloch students, including the council chairman, be restored.

They allege the university’s Academic Staff Association pressured the vice chancellor and the syndicate not to restore the expelled students.

“We are facing injustice,” another representative, Shahdad Baloch, said, adding that their protest would continue.

According to the university, educational activities at the campus have resumed.

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