Speakers at parliamentarians debate on the restoration of student unions in varsities have demanded authorities to conduct elections for these bodies as union making was students’ constitutionals, legal and democratic rights under the Article 17 of the Constitution.

The debate was arranged by the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, the student wing of Jamaat Islami, at the University of Peshawar.

KP government spokesperson Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, JI’s leader Inayatullah Khan, Awami National Party Sardar Hussain Babak, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s Ikhtiar Wali , Balochistan Awami Party’s Bialwal Afridi ad Pakistan Peoples Party Ahmed Karim Kundi attended the gathering, Besides, University of Peshawar Dr Muhammad Idress also spoke at this occasion.

Journalist Lehaz Ali moderated the dialogue.

The speaker at this occasion stressed the role of student unions in strengthening of democratic institutions and a token rally was also taken out to press for restoration of student unions.

A joint declaration issued at the end of dialogue demanded that parliamentary democratic system was the bedrock of Pakistan constitution and it allowed an 18 years old youth to vote to elect country leadership.

However, it said that it was beyond understanding to deny the varsities youth to elect their leadership through elections.

The declaration said that elections for student unions was imperative in Pakistan to raise awareness regarding importance of democracy among students, promote democratic culture, tolerance, dialogue and curbing extremist ideologies in Pakistan, where establishment have not allowed democratic institutions to take root.

Similarly, it said that a democratically elected student’s platform was also imperative to make their voices heard as education related problems were on the rise. It said that in the absence of well thought out educational policy, ever-increasing fees and privatization of education, only a student elected platform could amplify their voices.

Besides, it also called for such a platform which may help students to realize their leadership potential, extra-curricular activities and their understanding of politics.

In addition to this, the declaration said that student unions have also provided educated and ideologically driven middle class leadership to the country in the past. Besides, it said that the bans on student unions have also held the politics hostage with capitalists and feudal; therefore, it was imperative to held elections for student unions for the revival of ideology driven politics.

It said that the student unions served as nursery for the national politics and majority of leaders who are currently in national mainstream have emerged from the same platform. Besides, it added that the current political mess was also a result of 38 years ban on student unions.  It said that student union elections can train students in dialogue and talks to achieve their objectives.

Besides, it also called upon the political parties to wage joint struggle for the restoration of student unions and passing unanimous resolutions from national and provincial assemblies as well as Senate.

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