Student unions yet to be formed as govt’s tenure about to end

The dream of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to restore the student unions is likely not to actualise during the tenure of the current government as student union elections have not been held anywhere in Sindh despite the passage of several months after the enactment of a law that made the student unions mandatory at the varsities.

As there are only a few weeks left before the current government’s five-year tenure comes to an end, it is highly improbable that student union elections would be held in these few weeks.

A bill for the restoration of the student union was prepared one-and-a-half year ago by a body chaired by PPP MPA Peer Mujeeb.

Talking to Jang, Mujeeb said the bill for the restoration of student unions was prepared on special instructions of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto. He expressed displeasure at delay in the implementation of the law.

“We consulted teachers, vice chancellors and student organisations, and held several meetings, after which this bill was prepared and passed by the Sindh Assembly,” he said, adding that after the enactment of the law, it was the responsibility of the respective departments to conduct the elections.

However, even Bilawal’s interest in the student unions seems to have faded as he has not taken any notice of lack of implementation of the law.

Mujeeb said that in the light of Bilawal’s vision, Sindh became the only province of Pakistan that enacted legislation for the revival of student unions.

It is pertinent to mention here that on February 9, 1984, military dictator General Ziaul Haq had banned the student unions in Pakistan, after which the student union elections were never held.

In 2022, the Student Union Restoration Act was passed and enacted, but in its implementation, the government faced opposition from some vice chancellors. Even the boards and universities department did not do any serious work to conduct the student union elections.

According to the law, the educational institutions were required set the rules and regulations related to the unions within two months.

Published at The News on 19th June 2023

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