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Report From Lahore: SAC Members brutally attacked at Punjab College

A detailed report of the incident that occurred today at Punjab College which involved the roughing up of activists of Student Action Committee. Published in the Emergency Times Blog – [llink]

Today, the true nature of the establishment was unleashed in full colours. As a sequel to yesterday’s assault against a PU teacher and an activist, both senior advisors for the Student Action Committee, by the Punjab College guards, today, the administration of the same university detained and brutally beat up four people, representative of the Student Action Committee (Lahore) including one female.

A Punjab University faculty member, a Fast faculty member, two students and a seasoned female activist returned outside Punjab College in the morning to distribute flyers amongst the students. While engaging with students, none were on college property but were maintaining a distance by remaining on the green belt next to the Canal Road.

More than a dozen private guards, acting on the Principals orders grabbed them and without any hesitation, dragged all four of them, including the lady, and a driver, through the school corridors, where students were witness to this disgraceful act. The female activist was dragged so forcefully that she lost her balance and fell, only to be violently dragged up. These four SAC representatives and the driver were locked in a room, without any justifications.

While in detention, the men were beaten up by the Punjab College faculty members, guards and those who seemed like hired thugs. The assault was so severe that the PU faculty member on the receiving end was bleeding profusely. The other young man who was also detained was mercilessly pounded upon by a dozen men, whereupon he lost consciousness and sustained respiratory loss and had to be rushed to the Sheikh Zahid Hospital emergency.

Their personal belongings: cellphones and a valuable camera were also forcefully snatched from them, only to be returned after external intervention. While they were kept inside, a SAC member came to Punjab College to rescue them. More than ten guards threatened him, and surrounded him, only to step back when he dialed 15 for police help.

After almost one hour of illegal imprisonment and harsh thrashing, the four were released. When these SAC (Lahore) representatives were disrespectfully let out, the battered and bruised entourage proceeded to the Muslim Town police station with hopes for legal retribution. At the station, they were interrogated repeatedly, yet no FIR was registered nor was it in the offing.

After much convincing by lawyers and students, the SP decided that everyone should convene at the ‘crime scene’ for further investigations. By this time, evening had fallen. At Punjab College, the administration upon noticing the arrival of the four people they had earlier beaten up along with forty SAC (Lahore) members, hid the guards responsible for the brutality earlier as to keep the police from interrogating them.

At the venue, the SAC members raised slogans asking for justice and student freedom when the DSP Rana Azeem showed up, instead of the SP as was promised. It would seem as Punjab College is owned by the District Nazim, the police was trying to play down the atrocities by the college and its administration. After SAC convinced the police to conduct an investigation as legal procedure would dictate, the DSP accompanied by the female activist who had been harassed at Punjab College earlier, her lawyers and a SAC member who was recording the activist’s narrative went inside the college premises to see the room where the four people were detained.

The Punjab College administration ordered the guards to barricade the way to the room, and locked the gates leading up to it. When the lawyers and the female activist demanded to show the DSP the room, the Punjab College administration launched into baseless conspiracy theories against the four SAC representatives they had beaten up.

After the faculty and administration shouted expletives and used extremely foul language, the lawyers, activist and the SAC representative walked out, only to be apprehended at the gate. The SAC representative, a female, was accused of taking photographs inside the college without permission. When she denied this, and showed she had no camera on her, more than a dozen men surrounded her and threatened physically frisk her and confiscate her cell phone.

Finally both the females were let out, to a waiting SAC representation, which dispersed to the press club for further statements. The Student Action Committee would also like to condemn the arrest of Aitzaz Ahsan who had been under house arrest for 90 days and had been released a day before being re-arrested. The rally at Nasser Bagh where Aitzaz addressed hundreds of people, from across the social spectrun, was testiment to the fact that Aitzaz is viewed as one of the forerunners of the movement to restore the judiciary.
Hamid Zaman (CCP), Hina Jillani (lawyer), Amir Jalal (SAC) and many other notable figures addressed the crowd and asked them to stand united in this struggle to reinstate the pre Nov. 3rd judiciary which is viewed as the first step towards the restoration of democracy.

The SAC (lahore) urges all citizens of Pakistan to come forth and take the control of the direction this nation is taking and help avert further violations of our basic rights. Tomorrow at 1 pm, at the press club, the Student Action Committee, along with other supporters will hold a protest against the brutality of the Punjab College establishment.

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