Friday Feb 11 2022

Sindh Assembly passes bill to restore student unions

A general view of the Sindh Assembly. — Twitter/File
A general view of the Sindh Assembly. — Twitter/File

  • Union to have 7-11 student members.
  • Elections will take place every year.
  • Rules to be decided in two months.

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly Friday unanimously passed a bill to restore student unions across the educational institutions of the province, with provincial minister Saeed Ghani terming it a "historic move."

The Sindh Students Union Bill, 2019, got the nod after the provincial assembly's standing committee on law recently approved the bill to restore the unions in educational institutions after a gap of nearly four decades.

According to the bill, a student union will be formed in every private and government educational institute.

The bill further stated that enrolled students will be able to vote for the student union or take part in it.

Read more: Why are student unions still illegal in Pakistan?

Students would be able to form a union with seven to 11 student members through elections every year. The union will have representation in the institute's syndicate, senate, and anti-harassment committee, the bill said.

The bill mentioned that no student would be allowed to use or keep weapons on campus, adding that educational institutes will decide the rules and regulations related to the union two months after the bill is passed.

It has been 38 years since former military ruler General Zia-ul-Haq barred students from assembling on university and college campuses to demand their rights.

"The revival of students union will certainly pave the way for a healthy and conducive environment for social and cultural interaction among communities," the text of the bill read.

Chief minister shares thoughts on bill

Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, speaking on the floor of the house after the bill's passage, said a dictator had placed a ban on the students union — which plays a major role in grooming students.

"Jamaat-e-Islami supported us a lot in the regard. Other Opposition parties also backed the bill," the chief minister said as he reminisced his days as a student. "I witnessed the last days of the students' unions."

"We will not, in any way, allow the unions to affect or suspend educational activities on campus," he stressed.