Decision on university harassment scandal doesn’t serve justice

We welcome the decision of the syndicate board of Balochistan University against the culprits of University scandal. However, so far, no steps have been taken to demilitarize the campus despite several appeals made from students and human rights organizations. Militarization of the university played a major role in the scandal.

The scandal of Balochistan university came to limelight in October last year when Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail directed FIA to investigate the allegations of misuse of CCTV camera inside campus and installation of hidden cameras in women’s hostel and then using the recordings to harass and blackmail female students.

The incident sparked anger among student circles resulted into months long protests against the perpetrators including the then VC, Javed Iqbal. The students also brought forth seven-point charter of demands including formation of anti-harassment cell at the university, inclusion of student’s representatives in the investigations into the scandal and removal of military personnel from inside the campus, which seems were not considered in the recent decision made on the issue.

The University of Balochistan has been declared the zonal Chiltan headquarter of the Frontier Corps, a para-military force, since 2016 when 700 FC personnel were deployed in the campus. The FC personnel had also been using vice chancellor’s official residence on the premises and had turned university’s sports complex into an interrogation chamber. The hostels are manned with personnel and students are compelled to undergo security checks every time they enter the hostel.

The presence of FC personnel inside university’s campus not only kept students in constant fear but students’ associations were also banned violating clause 8 of Balochistan University Act 1996 which not only permitted students’ association but also encourages students’ representation in various administrative forums, including its senate.

We urge the Governor of Balochistan and other authorities to consider the demands students have made on the issue and take measurements against the then VC of university of Balochistan, Javed Iqbal. We demand to demilitarize all education institutions across Balochistan including Balochistan University.

Human Rights Council of Balochistan (Hakkpaan) is a non-profit and non-partisan human rights group based in Balochistan and Sweden. It collects reports from Balochistan, a region Pakistan government does not allow any media and HR group to visit and report. Human rights violations in Balochistan is not a new phenomenon, but it got its worst levels after the Military coup de tat of Pakistan in 1999. Thousands of Baloch have been reported missing, hundreds killed in fake encounters and so-called kill and dump policy of the military. HRCB collects the data from Balochistan itself, through its network of volunteers and supporters, organizes and reports them to the human rights mechanisms of the world.