Behind the success of any country, it is the educational institutions that play a key role in producing intellectuals, scholars and scientists. Therefore, educational institutions should be the last place for any politician to come to hold a political event and use the platform of any university for political purposes.
Unfortunately, politics trumps everything in Pakistan. Its gravity can be gauged from the fact that in spite of 1/3rd of the country inundated with flood, the politics as usual didn’t stop as Imran Khan has been holding protests across the length and breadth of the country. Further, Imran Khan’s recent visit to Government College University Lahore (GCU) demonstrated that politics seems to have seeped into the leading educational institutions of the country.
This has happened at the backdrop of a larger ban imposed on the politics of students by General Zia-ul-Haq. Since then, the ban has continued in one form or another. Resultantly, students have been effectively neutralised, removed from leadership roles and responsibilities and made pariahs within the socio-political landscape of the country.
It is largely reflected from the euphoric attitude of the students of GCU when they chanted ‘Diesel’ (an abusive remark that Khan used to refer to Maulana Fazal Rehman) in sync with Khan. They can be seen happy at the falsified Anti-American narrative of Imran Khan. While the students in hundreds were chanting abusive slogans, the Vice Chancellor of GCU was seen happy and proud at the bizarre political event.
Uninterestingly, there is a history behind the politicisation of GCU as it has chucked out some of its brilliant staff members who it deemed were teaching their students the skills of engaging with modern politics, making them aware of their own rights and supporting the students to protest for their rights within and outside the campus. To name a few, Ammar Ali Jan and Zaigham Abbas – both professors of political science- were thrown out from GCU for spreading political awareness.
Having been kicked out, they predicted a damning scenario for the future academic environment of the institution in their interviews – given to various channels. They are proved right today as the administration has come fully naked with its politicised agenda.
Furthermore, it is mind-boggling to think that how could GCU ban students from taking part in political events and expressing their political opinions within the campus despite offering courses in political science? It seems GCU is degenerating and decaying at the hands of the hypocrisy of its administration, as it is impossible for its students to avoid politics while doing degrees in political science.
If politics is that problematic, GCU should completely stop teaching political science to its students. Otherwise, it cannot ban students for being politically active for their rights while allowing Imran Khan to use the Oval Ground of college for a political speech. Apparently, it is not the politics that is problematic to GCU but an active student body that can question its hypocrisy, corruption and double standards.
Additionally, the administration of GCU needs to understand that banning active student bodies is detrimental for the growth of both students and the institution. To curb nepotism, corruption and other double standards, an active student body is needed as it puts right questions over the intention of the institution in the face of political manoeuvering.
With student politics, it is natural that GCU’s academic environment would improve significantly when its students engage with issues of national importance. For the future- also- progressive student clubs are paramount for producing democratic leaders who can challenge the partisan politics of Pakistan and put the whole country on the right track.
Conclusively, it is an opportune moment for the government of Pakistan to take a strict action against the administration of GCU for allowing the platform of university for propagating their personal political agendas as Pakistan cannot afford the deterioration of its leading institutions, particularly GCU.