AWKU faculty, students demand reopening of University

The Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan has been closed since April 13. PHOTO: FILE
PESHAWAR: The faculty members and students of the Abdul Wali Khan University (AWKU) Mardan, where a student Mashal Khan was lynched over blasphemy allegations last month, are demanding that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government should immediately reopen the educational institution to prevent further wasting of semester time.

They are also calling for the appointment of a permanent vice chancellor at the university.

The AWKU Mardan was closed on April 13 after Mashal Khan, a student of its journalism department, was lynched by a mob of fellow students accusing him of committing blasphemy.
The AWKU Mardan had notified on April 13 that all its campuses and colleges would remain closed from April 14 until further orders. Besides, students were directed to vacate its hostels.

AWKU Mardan Vice Chancellor Dr Ihsan Ali had retired in March this year and the K-P government has yet to appoint a new permanent head of the university.

The faculty members and students of the university are worried about their future.

A faculty member, requesting anonymity, told The Express Tribune that not only had students’ studies suffered because of the incident, but the university’s image had also been tarnished.

“The students’ precious semester time is going to waste but the government doesn’t seem to be bothered by this,” he added.

He further said the former vice chancellor had suggested three names for the post but the government had still not selected one of them.

“AWKU Registrar Sher Alam Khan is temporarily looking after the university’s affairs but he is not authorised to reopen university or take bold steps,” the faculty member noted.

Khurshid Khan, a resident of Mardan, said his two sons were studying at the AWKU but now he was planning to send them to another university.

“After the Mashal Khan case, the university’s image has been badly affected and several parents are considering switching their children to other educational institutions,” he added.

Liaqat Ali, a student of the AWKU Mardan, said a lot of his semester time had gone to waste since the university was closed and his study routine was badly disturbed.

“The government should immediately reopen the university as thousands of students’ future depends on it,” he demanded.

Ali maintained that the university’s female students were so scared that they no longer wanted to continue studying there.

“My sister also studies there and she is insisting that either she is sent to another university or she will quit her studies altogether,” he added.

AWKU Mardan Superintendent Marjan Ali conceded that students’ precious time was being wasted, but added that there was nothing that the university administration could do. He said the faculty members were coming to work even though the university was closed.

“It’s the education department’s responsibility to have the university reopened,” he added.

By Asad Zia Published in Express Tribune


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