Mansoori vows not to allow IJT book fair

LAHORE - The standoff on 'book fair' between Punjab University administration and the IJT student organisers continued on Wednesday with strong speculations that the university might face closure for another week as a result of the impasse. The students organised a protest demonstration 'book march' from the Islamia College Civil Lines to the Punjab Assembly chambers. They were holding books and chanting slogans against the university administration. They condemned the efforts to stop the book fair and closure of the university for four days suspending the classes. The students vowed to set stage for the book fair when the university will reopen on Friday (tomorrow). PU spokesman Dr Mujahid Ali Mansoori said that new strategy would be evolved according to the situation on Friday. However, it was not necessary to close the university every time but the book fair would not be allowed at any cost, he maintained. He said though the police were present in the university premises, but it had been restrained to take any action as majority of students from the hostels had gone home while the 'outsiders' summoned by the IJT from other districts to support them in the melee last Monday were also dispersed. Meanwhile, the vice-chancellor has called a meeting of the Punjab University teachers on Thursday (today) at 10 am for consultation on the issue. However, the university administration was contemplating to hold a book fair with a participatory approach involving teachers and all groups of students instead of giving free hand and hegemony to a particular group. Dr Mujahid Ali Mansoori along with Dr Saeed Ahmad Nagra, Dr Bashir Ahmad and others tried to prove before the media at Lahore Press Club Wednesday that three of the four activists of the book fair including Zahid Naveed, Sabir Shah and Usman Rasool were not enrolled students of the PU. They took admission in various departments but were rusticated or failed to qualify the examinations, hence dropped and their enrolments were also cancelled. Hamdullah, the fourth one, was an enrolled student of the university. As such the three have no right to claim themselves students and to organise any book fair on behalf of the university students. He said by using university premises, infrastructure, electricity etc for fetching money from the publishers or to invite political and community leaders of their own choice, would not be allowed. He said after the syndicate decision in 2005, any book fair on behalf of a particularly student group was illegal. Replying to a question, he said that the final draft recommendations regarding the revival of student unions, was yet to be finalised. Meanwhile, the PU IJT staged a protest demonstration from the Islamia College Civil Lines to the Punjab Assembly chambers. They were holding placards, banners and carrying books during the protest. They also chanted slogans against the Chancellor/Governor Punjab. The rally was led by Hafiz Sohaib Ummar Siddiqui, nazim IJT Punjab, Abdul Basit nazim IJT Lahore and Zahid Naveed nazim IJT PU. Alkhidmat group, Hall Road and Lahore Bar Association secretary Latif Sara expressed solidarity with the students. In a statement, ex-president Punjab university students union Abdul Shakoor, Masood Khokhar and Jehangir Khan termed the statement of PU spokesman and student advisor Dr Mujahid Ali Mansoori that they were out of country and hence no concern with the fair, not true. They also condemned the restrictions on book fair in this regard. Ex-presidents Amir ul Azeem, Farid Ahmad Piracha and Ihsanullah Waqas also condemned the restriction.

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