Dr. Riaz’s lawyer filed a petition in the session’s court requesting that his client should be allowed to file an FIR against his attackers. The matter is pending before the court and a decision is expected on Monday the 7th of April when the bail hearing of Dr. Riaz will also be conducted.
In this regard it is imperative for political and civil society activists, teachers and other professionals, and concerned citizens in general to publicly condemn and protest against the treatment meted out to a renowned professor of Karachi University . It should be remembered that this incident should not be viewed in isolation for this issue is part of a wider malaise that afflicts our educational institutions as well as other organs of the state, owning to the endemic interference of the armed services in all aspects of public affairs in Pakistan . We call upon all concerned citizens to join us in discussing this issue further and in formulating a plan of action at the office of the Aurat Foundation at 5 pm, Sunday, the 6th of April. The address of the office is:
6th April @ 5:00pm
D-3/1, Block-7KDA Scheme No. 5 Clifton ,
Karachi 75600 Pakistan – Tel: (021) 582 4694
On Monday, the 31st of March, Dr. Riaz Ahmed of International Socialist Pakistan was brutally assaulted by Rangers personnel inside the premises of Karachi University . The incident took place following the lockdown of the university premises by security personnel after a clash between two rival groups of students. A few hours later when Dr. Riaz attempted to leave the campus he was prevented from doing so despite the fact that as a Professor he was well within his rights to exit the university as and when he chose to do so.
When Dr. Riaz demanded that he be allowed to leave he was savagely attacked and beaten by four Rangers personnel, two of which, Havaldars Anwar ul Haq and Ihtesham, have been identified. At the time the personnel were under the command of Colonel Iftikhar who was present at the scene. Owing to a severe thrashing by rifle butts and sticks, Dr. Riaz has suffered serious injuries to his head and back. Owing to his injuries he was hospitalized at the Agha Khan University hospital, but not before agitating for two hours along with students at the treatment meted out to him.
On the 1st of April, the general body of the Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) met in an emergency session to discuss the atrocities perpetrated by the Sindh Rangers. Addressed by Dr. Riaz and others, the body unanimously condemned the actions of the Rangers personnel and called for their immediate removal from the University campus. They also demanded that the attackers should be immediately arrested and dealt with in accordance with the law. Moreover, in solidarity with Dr. Riaz, university teachers also boycotted classes and seminars throughout the day.
On the same day, a demonstration was held by the International Socialist Pakistan as well as other political parties and organizations at the Karachi Press Club. The demonstrators vociferously protested against the savage treatment meted out to Dr. Riaz and demanded the immediate withdrawal of armed services personnel not only from educational institutions but from all aspects of public affairs. They were of the view that the recent announcement by the newly formed government to revive student unions could only be effective if armed services personnel were immediately removed from campuses.
On the 2nd of April, the Sindh Rangers, in a move aimed to deflect growing criticism of their actions, filed an FIR against Dr. Riaz at the Mobina Town Police Station. Among other charges, the report accused Dr. Riaz of causing bodily harm to the Rangers personnel!
In response, the KUTS convened a session on the 3rd of April after which a meeting was also held with the Vice Chancellor of the University. However, in a shocking move, the VC refused to press the Rangers to withdraw their FIR, thereby proving that the University establishment is complicit along with the provincial government and armed services personnel for the abject state of Karachi University today.
As part of the response by concerned citizens and academicians, the 4th of April was observed as a black day by FAPUASA, which is an all Pakistan federation of universities. Continuing with the momentum, Saturday, the 5th of April was also observed as a black day across all government universities in Sindh in which protesting teachers throughout wore black armbands to their classes.