Archive for Students

IJT’s Another Episode of Terror

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , , , , on December 8, 2008 by Umer

by Rab Nawaz

Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), a by-product of Zia’s notorious military dictatorship, is famous for its hooliganism and Islamic fascism. Beating, terrorizing, thrashing, shooting, harassing the innocent students and a general hypocrisy has been the defining attributes of this socially outrageous organization. Recently it has committed another incident to make its presence felt.

This happened in Punjab University such that a newly formed student organization (about 10 months old) named University Students Federation (USF) was gaining rapid popularity mainly because of its Non-violent and Non-partisan nature. This Federation was the result of aftermath of Imran Khan’s man-handling by IJT during the last year’s emergency rule. USF was mainly centered at PU Law College and most of its leading members belonged to the Law College. Although there was a continuous series of threats and maneuvering from IJT since the formation of USF which was frequently reported to the varsity administration and media, it gained pace in the previous weak when USF started forming its structure in the varsity’s hostels. IJT could not hold back to face its hostages (hostels) being liberated. Furthermore IJT thought to have created some space by building some pressure on the administration through staging some rallies for the decrease in fees and internet facility in hostels. It is noteworthy that IJT itself had been stopping the installment of internet in hostels for previous two years on the plea that it would spread vulgarity. There has been continuous tussle between IJT and administration over this issue which mounted to beating and insulting the teachers by IJT.

In this context, on the night between 30th November and 1st December, 2008 about two dozens of IJT activists equipped with arms and sticks attacked the room no. 64 of Hostel No. 15, a major center of USF meetings. There they tried to kidnap Ch. Ahsan, Imran Sial and Hafiz Azeem but could do no more than thrashing and beating owing to the resistance by the victims and some students from the neighboring rooms. They left after giving life threats. The next day, USF activists did a demonstration on the Campus Bridge requesting safety. Administration promised to take some action but it followed nothing till the night between 2nd and 3rd December when the hostel no. 16 bathed into blood at 2:30 a.m. The events preceding this blood-bath are as follows.

At about 8:00 p.m. on 2nd December, about 50 IJT activists including a number of outsiders had a round of university hostels without any explicit purpose except show of power. When they entered hostel no. 16, they found Atif Naeem Ranjha (President of USF) standing at the newspaper stand and suddenly attacked him with severe blows and thrashing. When USF supporters from the surrounding started to approach them, they ran away. This open cruelty boiled every boarder of hostel 16 and other hostels. They came out raising slogan against IJT and blocked the Canal Road. The road remained blocked for about 2 hours until police and administrative authorities came and they ensured action against the culprits within 24 hours. This scene ended at about 11:30 p.m.After it IJT was heard to stage a protest at another side of Canal Road which was conceived as against administration but it indeed implied the delaying of lawful action against them.

Probably at their returning from the protest, they planned to end this pending story, or it may be a pre-plan, and they attacked the hostel 16. Eye-witnesses tell that they were approximately 50 in number. About 15 to 20 of them trespassed the hostel and directly raided at the rooms resided by USF activists. They were carrying pistols, guns, clubs, iron rods, wickets and bats. There they victimized Hafiz Ahsan, Asad Sajjad Gujjar, Atif Naeem Ranjha, Rai Shajar Abbas, Ali Hassan Waraich, Khurram Butt, Ali Abbas, Rana Naeem and Azhar Subhani. Hafiz Mazhar and Asad were shot with pistols while remaining received serious hurts in heads, arms, backs and legs. During this operation, the brutality of assailants exceeded to an extent that after shooing Asad in the leg, they dragged him down to the gate of the hostel from his room at second floor and battered and pummeled him there to force him to utter the slogan of “Zinda Hai Jamiat (Jamiat is alive)”. Subhani was thrown down on the ground from second floor. After they left by leaving their prints in the form of blood on the floors, broken clubs and window glasses and nine students heavily injured; the other boarders, hostel warden and employees gathered. They took the injured to the Jinnah Hospitalwhere they were operated and medicated. Hafiz Mazhar’s condition was very fragile. His vein was cut and he was recovered with great difficulty. Vice Chancellor, other authorities from varsity, police and media immediately reached the hospital. Varsity authorities announced that IJT was behind this act, police registered the FIR while media covered the whole event.

A great wave of anger spread across the campus. Hundreds of students massively boycotted the classes the next morning and arranged a procession that ended at the campus bridge after marching throughout the campus. The students were so upset and raged that they blocked the traffic, burned the tires, raised slogans against IJT and demanded immediate expulsion and arrest of alleged IJT activists. After 3 hours the students dispersed as a result of negotiation with the VC who ensured the fulfilling of the demands.

Although varsity administration and provincial government have resolved to take action but the students must realize that these fascist elements are a grave threat to the very foundations of our society. We need enlightened consciousness to fight back them at every front of the society.

 

Rab Nawaz is a student of the Punjab University Law College and an active member of the University Students Federation.

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The People’s Hero: Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh

Posted in Communist Movement, Marxism with tags , , , , , , on March 24, 2008 by Umer

Disturbed to life by the atrocious massacre at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, disillusioned by the national political leaders who recoiled the promising Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922, alarmed by the rising religious divisions and reactionary rhetoric in the mainstream politics, and motivated by the Bolshevik Revolution of workers and peasants of Russia of 1917, Bhagat Singh and his compatriots entered the political scene of India and became the icon of the aspirations of the people of India in no time. Their aim was to bring a revolution that would not only end the colonial British regime but would also lay the foundations of a system that shall combat all forms of injustices. It was for these crimes that Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were hanged by the rulers of British colonialism on 23rd of March, 1931, at Lahore Camp Jail. Bhagat Singh was only 23 years old at the time of his hanging.

The colonial administration made it no secret that their enmity lied more with the ideals of Bhagat Singh rather than Bhagat Singh himself. Justice Medilton, who transported Bhagat Singh and B. K. Dutt for life in the Assembly Bomb Case, testified to the danger that the ideas of Bhagat Singh posed to the system based on manifest injustice: “These persons would enter the court with the cries of ‘Long Live the Revolution’ and ‘Long Live the Proletariat’ which shows clearly shows what sort of political ideology they cherish. In order to put a check in propagating these ideas, I transport them for life.” One can well imagine that Bhagat Singh must have received the Medilton’s comment with a broad smile. Once, during a court hearing when Bhagat Singh started laughing while chatting with one of his comrades, he ironically replied to inquiry of the Magistrate about the reason behind the amusement: “Dear Magistrate, if you can’t tolerate my laughing at the moment, what will happen to you when I laugh even on the scaffold?”

Bhagat Singh started his political journey when new lines were emerging in the Indian polity. On one hand, the religious jargon was being introduced in the political rhetoric at a mass scale and seculars like Jinnah were getting sidelined. On the other hand, the revolutionary ideas of Lenin and Bolshevik Revolution were trickling into India. Bhagat Singh, like many others who were already disillusioned by Gandhi, was attracted towards experiment of workers and peasants of Russia.

With this ideological motivation, the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), which was formed by Ashfaqullah Khan and Mahavir Singh in around 1925, became the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) in 1928 primarily on the insistence of Bhagat Singh. Along with an express commitment towards socialism, the HSRA also proclaimed a broad internationalist vision of a World Order that would free humanity from the scourge of capitalism and imperialist wars. Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS) was founded in Lahore in 1926 as the open front of HSRA with object to expose reactionary politics and to promote religious harmony and secularism. In June 1928, Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev also organized a Lahore Students’ Union as auxiliary to NBS. The outlook of NBS was clearly popular. “Revolution by the masses and for the masses”, stated the Manifesto of the NBS. NBS made remarkable progress within a few months as its branches were organized all around India. It became so popular that it was banned by the British government in May of 1930.

In 1928, the all-White Simon Commission came to visit India in order to provide the further constitutional reforms. The Congress decided to boycott the Commission, and the HSRA decided to actively participate in the boycott demonstrations. One such demonstration, led by Lala Lajpat Rai was organized outside the Lahore Railway Station where the Commission was to arrive. Bhagat Singh and his compatriots were also a part of this protest. When the Police ordered baton-charge, the Superintendent of Police, J. A. Scott, targeted Lala Lajpat in particular who could not bear the severe injuries caused by the raining batons and died. The whole nation was infuriated at the death of Lala Lajpat.

HSRA decided to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. On December 17, 1928, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekher Azad and Rajguru shot dead J. P. Saunders, a Police officer, mistaking him for Scott. Posters under-singed by the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army appeared across Lahore the same night that stated that “we are sorry for shedding human blood but it becomes necessary to bathe the altar of revolution with blood.”

After the assassination of Saunders, Bhagat immediately escaped for Calcutta where he attended the first All India Conference of Workers’ and Peasants’ Parties and the Calcutta session of the Congress, where the Communist Party made an illustrious entry by demanding the Congress to accept the goal of complete independence (which did not happen).

This was a time when the Communist Party was taking its roots in India in general and in the working class movement in particular. Naturally, the British government became apprehensive and rounded 31 prominent Communist and labor leaders in the famous Meerut Conspiracy Case. Repressive measures, like the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Disputes Bill, were brought to the floor of Central Legislative Assembly that threatened the democratic rights of the citizens of India.

HSRA decided to take action against the onslaught of British government. On April 8, 1929, Bhagat Singh and B. K. Dutt threw two bombs in the Assembly when Viceroy was supposed to enact the Trade Disputes Bill using his special powers against the will of the Assembly. These bombs were made especially for the occasion. As they were harmless and were not meant to kill anyone, no one was seriously injured. The bomb, as the leaflet thrown by Bhagat Singh in the name of HSRA, was “a loud voice to make the deaf hear”. Bhagat Singh and B. K. Dutt gave their arrests, as was pre- decided by the HSRA, so that they can use the trail in court to popularize the programme and ideology of the HSRA.

The struggle against British colonialism was taken to new scale in the court and in the jail. In the court room, the people of India met Bhagat Singh, the political thinker. In jail, the people of India witness the resilience of Bhagat Singh. The whole nation was awestruck by the hunger-strike that Bhagat Singh and his comrades managed to pull while protesting against the inhumane and discriminatory conditions meted out to the Indian political prisoners. This was a time, says Pattabhi Sitaramyya, official historian of the Congress, when “Bhagat Singh’s name was as widely known all over India and was as popular as Gandhi’s”. Bhagat Singh underwent a hunger-strike for more than 116 days, with one stretch of 97 days, despite the heavy and frequent torture inflicted by the Jail authorities. One of participants of the hunger-strike, Jatin Das, died on the 64th day of the strike.

As a political thinker, the jail years had a deep impact on the ideological development of Bhagat Singh. The presence of an impended trail, which was more of a propaganda forum for him, and an unending thirst for knowledge motivated Bhagat Singh to study hard. He read more than 144 books in jail and prepared extensive notes about his study in a prison diary. His thoughts matured with a serious study and he also criticized his own tactics. In a short message to students’ conference at Lahore, Bhagat Singh advised: “Comrades, Today, we can not ask the youth to take to pistols and bombs… the youth will have to spread to the far corners of the country. They have to awaken the crores of the slum-dwellers of industrial areas and villagers…” Writing about his revolutionary career, Bhagat Singh said: “Study” was the cry that reverberated in the corridors of my mind… the Romance of the violent methods alone which was so prominent amongst our predecessors, was replaced by serious ideas. No more mysticism, no more blind faith… use of force justifiable when resorted to as a matter of terrible necessity: non-violence as policy indispensable for all mass movements.”

When asked in court what he meant by revolution, Bhagat Singh famously replied: “A revolution does not necessarily involve sanguinary strife not is there any place in it for individual vendetta. It is not a bomb or pistol cult. By revolution we mean that the present order of things, which is based on manifest injustice, must be changed… By revolution we mean the ultimate establishment of the order of society… in which sovereignty of the proletariat should be recognized.”

After being awarded life imprisonment in the Assembly bomb case, Bhagat Singh was registered for what came to be known as the Second Lahore Conspiracy Case for the assassination of J. P. Saunders. A special tribunal was set-up for the trail of Bhagat Singh that was provided with the novel power of conducting an ex-parte trail. After what was termed by A. G. Noorani as “a farcical trail”, Bhagat Singh was sentenced to death.

Gandhi observed the injustices meted out to Bhagat Singh in jail and in the court rooms with a conspicuous silence. It was only after the death of Bhagat Singh that the Congress gave a statement, after much tension over wording, in “admiration of the bravery and sacrifice of the late Bhagat Singh and his comrades”. A. G. Noorani pointed out that Gandhi could have averted the death of Bhagat Singh during his talks with the Viceroy, Lord Irwin. Gandhi’s claims that he tried his best to persuade the Viceroy were found to be mere lies by the records that came to light four decades later.

Bhagat Singh, nevertheless, found a supporter in the mainstream politics and that was in Jinnah. Jinnah who was himself isolated by the encroachment of religion in politics at that time and considered it undesired rose in support of Bhagat Singh. In his incisive speech to the Constituent Assembly on September 12 and 14, 1929, Jinnah harshly condemned the criminal colonial rule and the Government’s actions against revolutionaries:

“The man who goes on hunger-strike has a soul. He is moved by the soul and he believes in the justice of his cause; he is not an ordinary criminal who is guilty of cold-blooded, sordid, wicked crime.

“What was he driving at? It is the system, this damnable system of Government, which is resented by the people.

“And the last words I wish to address the Government are, try and concentrate your mind on the root cause and the more you concentrate on the root cause, the less difficulties and inconveniences there will be for you to face, and thank Heaven that the money of the taxpayer will not be wasted in prosecuting men, nay citizens, who are fighting and struggling for the freedom of their country.”

In our part of the sub-continent, we conveniently forget the role played by non-Muslims in the struggle of liberation from the British colonialism. All non-Muslims are grouped in one category to be completely rejected by the rulers of Pakistan irrespective of their message and their history. The same fate met Bhagat Singh. That he was supported by Jinnah is a fact never mentioned in the corridors of power or in the text-books of Pakistan Studies. It is not surprising, though. Bhagat Singh, a symbol of resistance, could never be the hero of the government that is not based on the will of the people.

Although the times have changed, they do not appear to have changed a lot. The World, particularly Pakistan is still facing a number of problems that were essentially present in the times of Bhagat Singh as well. Hence, the legacy of Bhagat Singh remains with us in his uncompromising struggle against imperialism, unflinching resistance to communalism and caste oppression, unbending opposition to the bourgeois-landlord rule, and unswavering support for socialism as the best possible alternative before society.

Published in The Post (Vista) on Tuesday, March 25, 2008.

Elections in Lahore, Pakistan

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , , , , on February 18, 2008 by Umer

The Elections Day in Lahore was relatively calm, as compared to previous elections, though it was not expected to be after the murder of one of the candidates to provincial assembly of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz last night. As I write this post, I can listen to many analysts on the news channels expressing their surprise over the comparative smoothness with which the elections proceeded in the district.

I spent most of my day, after casting my vote for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), with the Election Monitors of the Students Action Committee (SAC) Lahore and Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP). I traveled around Thoker Niaz Beg area visiting several polling booths in order to look for any illegal activities.

The most pervasive complaint, while the detailed report of SAC is pending, was the exclusion of opposition party voters from the voting lists. According to the voters, who exercised their right to vote in the last elections, they could not find their names and the names of their family members in the voting lists, though it was present a few days ago. Many alleged that the voting lists might be changed overnight before the elections. There were also complaints about lack of polling booths and polling staff particularly in the opposition constituencies. Additionally, there were also some reports regarding intimidation of the polling staff by the local authorities.

In the pre-poll phase, there was rampant information of money being distributed by PML-Q and the development works being carried out in the late hours.

As the news is coming in, it appears that the King’s Party, PML-Q, is going down swiftly. Many PML-Q stalwarts – Moonis Elahi (who spent so much money in elections that his face seemed to be everywhere), Shujat Hussain, and Sheikh Rashid – have reportedly lost (the latter two are contesting from more than one constituencies, so whether they will make it to the legislature or not is still unconfirmed).

Here also some short-messages that I received throughout the day:

SAC mock referendum results:
Turnout: 812
Against Musharraf: 782
For Musharraf: 24

From Geo: Majority polling stations have not received their allotted number of ballot papers and boxes.

Mianwali; NA-72: Pervez Elahi’s relative Humair Hayat Rokri’s (candidate for PML-Q) supporters giving money to female voters outside polling stations.

Narowal; NA-117: Ransacked polling stations go up to 25. Armed gangs of criminals carried out the operation on the behest of PML-Q and took away boxes.

End the Siege of Gaza

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs with tags , , , , , , , on February 15, 2008 by Umer

An Interview with Baha Abu Hussein, Palestinian Progressive Youth Union 

From: Fight Back!

The following interview with Baha Abu Hussein, the Director of International Relations in the Palestinian Progressive Youth Union, was conducted by Kosta Harlan.

Baha Abu Hussein, who lives in Gaza, was one of the delegates to the March 2007 conference in solidarity with the Iraqi, Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements: “With the Resistance, for a Just Peace in the Middle East” (www.iraqiresistance.info).

This January, protests around the world demanded that Israel end its siege and collective punishment of Gaza, which had resulted in numerous deaths and unimaginable suffering due to massive shortages of food, fuel, medicine, and other basic necessities of life.

Kosta Harlan: What is the current situation in Gaza?

Abu Hussein: The current situation in Gaza Strip is getting worse all the time due to the Israeli siege. As you know, the Gaza Strip has one of the highest concentrations of inhabitants per area in the world. It lacks basic facilities and services as well as economical, humanitarian and health shortages.

The siege physically closes the borders between Gaza and the outside world. In addition, there is a commercial siege: imports and exports are restricted and the limited amounts of products that enter Gaza are under huge regulations. The cut off of water supplies, electricity and the basic essential elements that farmers, hospitals and manufacturers need is causing many deaths and injuries. It has led to many deaths among the Palestinians. So far the death toll has reached more than 92 children, women and elderly people. On top of all that, the Israeli missile attacks carry on uninterrupted and continue to cause massive destruction and death. Not only do the Israelis kill our people, but they also destroy the agricultural fields and houses and commit many other war crimes without anyone to stop them. All in all, the situation is getting worse all the time.

Kosta Harlan: Can you describe the work of the Progressive Youth Union in these conditions?

Abu Hussein: Due to the hard conditions of poverty, unemployment and lack of resources in Gaza Strip, Palestinian youth find it hard to work properly. Yet, young people try hard to work under these difficult conditions in order to make the world hear our message and achieve our goals.

Since the beginning of 2008, the Progressive Youth Union organized a number of workshops and lectures with the Palestinian University in Gaza Strip. We also organized a youth conference against the Annapolis conference in which George Bush, the criminal, asserted that the recognition of Israel was a pre-condition to any improvement in the Palestinians’ conditions. This is a very serious issue because it will give Israel the right to transfer the 1948 Arab Palestinians, bar the refugees in other countries from returning to their homeland, and lead to the diminution of our history in Palestine.

The Palestinian youth movement also worked against Bush’s visit to the region through many of lectures and leaflets. Internationally, we keep connected with our supportive sisters and brothers in order to increase the support for our cause. We are currently preparing for a huge demonstration against the unjust siege that our people face every day. It will take place near the Egyptian border and include the participation of international and peace supporters such as members of the Italian parliament and a number of friendly Italian institutions and organizations.

Moreover, we are leading another campaign against the Book Exhibition in Turin, Italy where they will receive Israel as a guest of honor in celebration of its 60th anniversary of existence – which also means 60 years of suffering for the Palestinians.

Kosta Harlan: How does the war in Iraq affect the situation in Palestine? What is your perspective on the occupation of Iraq?

Abu Hussein: The war against Iraq and the destruction, killing, and robbery that followed it is only more proof of the American policy that supports ‘legal’ terrorism. Bush’s aim is to control the rich resources of Iraq.

It is obvious that the media do not show the huge number of crimes committed by the American army in Iraq – killing children, raping women, as well as encouraging the internal civil war between the Iraqi people themselves as an aim to divide Iraq. It is also obvious that Iraqi oil is the main reason for occupying Iraq. If you think for a moment, you will see that America’s foreign policy in the Arab countries, especially threatening Iran and Syria and supporting the chaos in Lebanon and Palestine, aims at protecting Israel and building a new Middle East where Israel will be in control of the region.

As for my point of view about this war, I believe that the American administration is in a disastrous situation. The occupation of Iraq and their instigation of chaos in the Arab countries failed because of the strong resistance from the people. I am confident that their occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Palestine will not last long, because the people are strongly determined to win, and this determination is stronger than that of the occupiers. In the end it is the forces of good that will win.

Kosta Harlan: What is your message to students in the United States? What can we do to help support the work that you do?

Abu Hussein: My message to students in American universities is to reject all of the crimes that the American administration is committing against the people of Iraq and Palestine. They should work together to explain the actual situation to the American people, because until then the American people will remain blind and deceived by Bush, who sent their children to be killed to protect Israel. I ask them all to start a huge movement in order to stop all kinds of the American interference in the internal affairs of the Arab countries and to leave us to decide our future.

From Gaza, I tell them: You have a big role in refusing all kinds of occupation and you should stand side by side with our people in our demand for a peaceful life and for our legitimate rights.

Letter from Prison

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , on December 11, 2007 by Umer

Attached to this post is the letter sent by the detainees who were arrested by Police from outside the house of Justice Shahid Siddique for holding a vigil. Justice Shahid Siddique was amongst those brave judges who refused to take oath under the PCO/Martial Law. The government decided to forcefully evict him from his official residence in GOR-1, Lahore in order to humiliate him for taking a stand for what is right. Around eleven vigil holders, who gathered to brave any aggression by the State against the respected Judge, were arrested on the night between 6th and 7th of December and were moved to Jail.

According to the recent reports, the government has decided to take back the charges against the detainees and they will, hopefully, be released soon. This is all due to the mounting pressure that the students and lawyers have exerted on the Authorities to express solidarity with their comrades. The students organized a hunger-strike camp outside the Lahore Press Club for more than 72 hours without any break despite the increasing cold. The camp was frequented by various people from all walks of life who expressed their commitment for the cause, and appreciated the good work of students.

The youth of Pakistan, especially those who were arrested, must be lauded for their bravery in the face of extreme adversity of the State.

letter.jpg

Student Action Committee Lahore issues Call

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , on November 28, 2007 by Umer

YOUR SILENCE; THE DEATH OF OUR COUNTRY

· Under the guise of emergency, on the 3rd of November a brutal attack was launched against the civil society of Pakistan which recently mobilized in unison with the judiciary and the lawyers.
· All the judges who stood by their oath to protect the constitution were removed and placed under house arrest. Moreover, the two judges blamed for releasing terrorists have taken oath under the PCO. There is no excuse for the treatment meted out to the judiciary.
· The media has effectively been silenced as have all opposing voices to the totalitarian regime.
· Fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression and assembly, right to association and right to life, liberty and property, have been taken away.
· A direct assault on the students has been made: talks and debates on academic campuses have been banned. Students are being threatened with expulsions and are being pressurized by a pseudo-student’s (non-democratic) organization. Threats have been made against the students’ future careers and job acquisitions.
· Thousands of people are in jail to date without any legal basis.
· Our industries and businesses have suffered immense losses in millions of rupees due to the aforementioned governmental policies.

If not Now, WHEN? If not Us, Who?
There is no neutrality anymore; SILENCE IS CONSENT. SPEAK!
Do not strengthen the forces of repression which plunder the life and liberties of innocent citizens. SPEAK!
“I will not remember the words of my enemies but the silence of my friends.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Raise your voice with ours for the restoration of the constitution and the judiciary; freedom of the media and release of protest prisoners to enable a democratic process to take root through free and fair election.
Join us to peacefully PROTEST on 30th of November near Salt & Pepper (Liberty) at 2:30 (after the Jumma prayers)

 

Student Action Committee

 

From: The Emergency Times

The Awakening…

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , on November 8, 2007 by Umer

The last few days have awakened the most crucial forces that have been missing in the politics of Pakistan for a very long time. The students of Pakistan, who have decided to rise from the slumber of passivity, have decided to reclaim their legacy. They know that they brought down a military dictator in 1969, and they are up for it again. The students movement, though in embryonic form at present, have given bright hopes to numerous those who considered battle against General Musharraf a lost cause. Rejecting those who laid arms without even giving a good fight, the students of Pakistan have shown the struggle for democracy is not over with the arrests of lawyers and political workers.

The call to students came from the most unexpected quarter. Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), considered to be an elite university in Pakistan, became the recipient to the honor of organizing the first student protest for democratic rights in the present anti-Musharraf movement. For the last four days, LUMS students have been actively involved in waging a constant struggle for their democratic rights in the face of intimidations and ill-intended rumors. Starting from Monday, when some students also decided to visit the Lahore High Court and saw the State repression happening in front of their very eyes, students from LUMS have been organizing rallies and meetings on the campus. The momentum of these meetings is escalating with every passing day.

The most remarkable feature of LUMS protests is their prudence in attracting massive attention from local and international media without engaging in any active confrontation with the Police. The coverage given by local and international media to LUMS, and the news of similar protests taking place at other educational institutions, has further raised the enthusiasm of the Luminites. Despite a strong presence of adventurists, the students are realizing that they are up for a protracted struggle and any clash with the Police, in the absence of iron solidarity, can compromise their efforts in organizing the students of Pakistan at large.

Following the lead of LUMS, students of other educational institutions have also risen up for democracy. The students of FAST-NU had to face the brunt of State on Wednesday, November 7, when a group of students and faculty members organized a demonstration. The Police trashed a student, Abdullah Zaki, and sealed the campus with numerous Policemen deployed at the gate to harass the agitating students. The enthusiasm shown by the FAST-NU students while facing the rage of the State was exemplary.

The faculty of Punjab University discussed the plans for protests on Wednesday. Around one hundred teachers of the University took out a rally an on-campus demonstration on Thursday.

While Lahore is following a trend of on-campus protests, the Leftist organizations of Rawalpindi have devised a unique ‘protest and run’ strategy. This strategy is very simple. As the term implies, get together, protest, and as soon as the Police is in sight, run. No arrests. That has been the course for the last couple of days. They demonstrate at random places, even famous markets, and retreat within fifteen minutes. The Police, unable to lay their hands on these careful protestors en masse, are further frustrated by the sympathizers who help the demonstrators to make safe escapes.

The students have also adopted the novel ‘protest and run’ method of getting the message through without undergoing much trouble (though no political activity is without risk in Pakistan these days). Students of Hamdard University have successfully implemented these tactics on Wednesday. Quaid-e-Azam University, another place which has surprised many, has also employed the ‘protest and run’ strategy with success.

This is so far the development of the early stages of the anti-dictatorship movement. While the university students will continue to mobilize there forces and strengthen to participate in the up-coming second wave of protests, some young twelve year olds from Karachi have understood the Emergency crisis in a very fascinating way.

The seven grade student of Karachi have observed from the Emergency that: General Musharraf is the evil Lord Voldemort of Pakistan; Benazir Bhutto is Umbridge, an evil ministry witch who had given Harry a hard time in his fifth year at the Hogwarts; Quaid-e-Azam is Professor Dumbledore; Shaukat Aziz is Thackneize, who was the prime minister of the wizards appointed by Voldemort; and, the Media emerged as the ‘Order of Phoenix’, a secret society working hard to bring down Voldemort independent of the Ministry of Magic. Guess who is the Harry Potter? Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the lawyers being Harry’s friends.

Carry on the good work, kids.

You will soon find Dumbledore’s Army in action as well.