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Students Clash at Islamabad University with One Dead and Several Injured

Two groups of students clashed during the closing ceremony of Students Education Expo at International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) on Thursday. One person died while more than a dozen others were injured during the clash.

The deceased has been identified as Syed Tufail from Gilgit Baltistan (GB) who was severely injured when a brick struck him on his head during a clash between two opposing student parties. These groups included the Saraiki Student Council and the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba. According to reports, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Naib-Ameer Liaquat Baloch was giving an address at the Education Expo when some members from the opposing party broke into the venue around 8:40 PM and started firing at the people present. The students not only carried firearms but also glass bottles, sticks, rocks, iron rods, and sharp tools.

Twenty-one students sustained injuries; two students sustained bullet injuries while one was hit in the head with an iron rod. The injured students include Amanullah, Abbas, Faisal Iqbal, Jamal Cheema, Maaz Saeed, Noman Zaman, Obaid Munawar, Ali Ghori, Saqib Shah, and others. All of the injured students, including Tufail, were immediately shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Science (PIMS) for treatment; however, Tufail succumbed to his injuries and passed away. Liaqat Baloch remained safe during the incident, as per a JI spokesperson.

Heavy contingents of police were deployed to the university as the information spread and controlled the situation with the use of an anti-riot unit, a prison van, and a water canon vehicle. Paramilitary Rangers were also called in to maintain the law and order. Police officials reported that hostels were being searched to recover any weapons in the possession of students and to arrest the offenders.

According to initial police reports, the event was planned by one group of students while the other opposed it. Harsh words were allegedly exchanged between the two groups after which the clash broke out. Due to this, one of the groups attacked members from the other group and injured two of them. The colleagues of the injured students then attacked the rival students later at night.

Sirajul Haq, the JI chief, condemned the attack and called the offenders “miscreants”, urging IJT activists to be patient and exercise restraint. He also demanded that the Islamabad administration arrest the attackers immediately.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered early on Friday, at the Sabzi Mandi police station, by complainant Fahad Khan, a student at the university. The FIR has been registered under Section 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 302 (premeditated murder) and 324 (attempt to murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

As per Khan, the clash caused a lot of fear among the university students, several of whom sought shelter in different areas to save their lives, while the suspects escaped. Sixteen students have been arrested so far after a complete search operation of the university and hostels. No weapons were recovered during the operation, according to police reports.

The atmosphere in the university is understandably quite tense at the moment, due to which the university administration has announced that the university will remain closed on Friday.

This incident comes after the Student March and the Sindh government lifting the ban on student unions. How big of a stepback do you think this can prove to be for the movement?

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