President Alvi directs HEC to take steps against harassment, profiling of Baloch students – Pakistan

President Arif Alvi instructed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Vice-Chancellor of Islamabad’s Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) on Friday to take all necessary steps to prevent harassment and racial profiling of them on university campuses.

According to a press release released by the President’s Office, Albi met with Baloch students in Aiwan-i-Sadr earlier this month to hear their concerns. Also present were QAU Vice-Chancellor Dr. Muhammad Ali, additional Interior Minister Muhammad Ayub Chaudhary and advocate Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir.

The meeting comes one day after Islamabad’s High Court (IHC) formed a committee led by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to settle the complaints of Baloch students. IHC Chief Justice Atar Minala passed the order after hearing a petition filed by human rights activist Mazari-Hajir against harassment of students protesting in Islamabad over the disappearance of his colleague, Hafiz Baloch, who went missing last month.

On April 8, Judge Minallah asked the President for a report on the grievances of the Baloch students.

In a statement released today, Dr Albi said Pakistan faces “a unique situation” and a resurgence of terrorist activity is a cause for concern.

“Counter-terrorism efforts are essential to our peace and survival, but they must be carried out with the utmost care and balance so as not to isolate or outline our population, especially Balochistan students,” he added.

Dr. Alvi also said there was a “general sense of deprivation or isolation” with Baloch students, and therefore all educational institutions should be more careful to address these feelings.

He emphasized the development of a program of active activities and discussion within the student community to “resolve the sense of deficiency among Baloch students”.

“The president also asked VC QAU to diligently monitor any activity that could be a cause of concern to Baloch students at QAU and to verify visitor credentials to verify impersonation (sic) and slander by law enforcement agencies. ” added a statement.

Mechanism to end profiling of Baloch students

Separately, the IHC yesterday instructed the Interior Minister to “stop what is happening to Baloch students” and develop a mechanism to end their ethnic profiling.

At the hearing, Judge Minallah said these students are the future. “Should the courts close their eyes to these human rights violations?” he asked. “The cabinet doesn’t know what’s going on in the country? Wasn’t it the people in the cabinet? [now] Did you go to them yesterday? don’t they know?”

He observed that finding solutions is the job of political leadership in a democratic society.

The directive was issued after security forces picked up Vega Imdad from a hostel at the University of Punjab, known to be involved in the Karachi University (KU) suicide bombing.

Imdad, a native of Kech as a 7th semester English literature student at Numl, Islamabad, was visiting relatives in Hostel Room 7.

On Wednesday morning, PU guards and other security forces tied him to a truck.

One student, who requested anonymity, said: Serb Security officials suspect Imdad may have been involved in a recent attack outside KU’s Confucius Institute, which killed three Chinese and injured four.

He said they tried to resist Imdad’s arrest, but staff told them that they would be released by the evening if they stayed away and the suspect was not involved in the blast. He said security did not release the student until evening.