Student march: AWP calls for dropping sedition cases against political, student activists
The Awami Workers party (AWP) condemns in the strongest words the registration of sedition case against student leaders, academics and others for participating in a peaceful march for their genuine demands.
The move is provocative, ludicrous and violation of the fundamental right to freedom of expression and procession guaranteed by the constitution.
AWP President Yousuf Mustikhan, General Secretary Akhtar Hussain and Deputy Secretary Ismat Shahjehan have condemned the crackdown on student and political activists as well as academics by authorities in Punjab, Sindh, and KP.
The AWP leaders also expressed concern at the abduction of Alamgir Khan Wazir, a former chairperson of Pakhtun Council of the Punjab University chapter from the campus for ostensibly making a speech at the student march.
Cases have been registered at the Civil Lines Police Station, Lahore nominating Dr Ammar Jan, Farooq Tariq, Muhammad Shabbir, Kamil Khan and Iqbal Lala, father of Mashal Khan, the slain student of Mardan University, who has become a symbol of resistance against extremism and state repression. Iqbal Lala was given a hero’s welcome as he arrived to express solidarity with students in Lahore.
They have been nominated under the charges of nuisance, sedition and the Punjab Sound Systems Regulation Act.
The AWP leaders said that the students exercised their fundamental right to peaceful protest for their rights and which was acknowledged by the Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Governor.
The Punjab and Sindh police have started crackdown and intimidation of leaders and activists of Progressive Students Federation, WDF and AWP for participating and organizing the march.
The AWP leaders said that the student marchers wanted restoration of union, better education facilities, an end to harassment on campuses and other education-related rights and a violence-free democratic society where everyone can live with dignity.
Alongside the continuing state repression in Balochistan and Sindh against youth and political activists, the current wave of intimidation and harassment will serve only to further alienate state from society it is supposed to be defending, the AWP leaders noted.
On the one hand, PM Imran has acknowledged the students’ grievances and promised to restore student unions and resolve their problems, on the other the filing of FIR against peaceful students and other citizens is a vicious attack on academic freedom, freedom of dissent, the AWP leaders said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the federal government and the provinces to form a comprehensive strategy for the protection of students’ rights and for the speedy resolution to their problems.
They demanded immediate withdrawal of the FIR, recovery of Wazir and an end to intimidation of political workers and repression in Balochistan, Sindh, KP, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.
AWP information secretary