Once again, the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Their list of offences is long and exhaustive, and their thug-like hold over the Punjab University (PU) has devastated this once premier institution. Their latest foray into the eradication of ‘vice’ has prompted these goons to barge into the canteen of the university’s Institute of Communication Studies (ICT) and audaciously demand that male and female students refrain from sitting together. Taking it a step further, they are badgering for a wall to be constructed to ensure complete segregation. Students from the ICT are vehemently defying this outright attack on social norms and rightly so. However, the PU administration has yet to do anything substantial about this state-within-a-state situation.
In increasingly intolerant societies such as ours, educational institutes hold the only remaining vestiges of liberal culture and reform. With a mafia like the IJT virtually reigning over the campus, all efforts at producing an enlightened, contemporary generation of professionals bite the dust. Such has been the case since the time of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto when then Governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar decided that the strong leftist tradition of the university did not fit into his increasingly right wing policies. Khar was assigned the task of countering the left by aiding and bolstering this religious group, the IJT. Many liberals left the university and the rule of the IJT was consolidated.
However, we must now acknowledge that as a nation reaping the misery of fundamentalism, it is now unacceptable to endorse or even overlook the IJT and their mafia rule. From beating up students whose only crime is talking to the opposite gender, opposing recreational activities and maliciously countering every attempt at progress and modernisation, the IJT is a medeival throwback. It is time the PU authorities and the government cracked down on an organisation that is as radically motivated as the very Taliban who are bombing us to kingdom come.
A recent “Shining Star Competition” organised by the IJT for the university’s deserving students has been disallowed by the PU administration. A welcome move, but we urge a more direct ‘hit’ to this militia; we cannot endorse Taliban ideologies in Pakistan anymore, no matter where they flourish.
Source: Daily Times