By Agha Iqrar Haroon
I am a chronic Ravian who joined the then Government College (GC) Lahore in 1982 in the first year and left my alma mater after completing a master’s in Philosophy in 1989. Being an Old Ravian I am proud to be a Ravian.
I had been active in student politics as a debater. I know the traditions of Government College (University) Lahore more than anybody who had not been there.
Government College premises had never been used for the political agenda of any political party in the past though there had been student unions till 1984 that were linked with political parties. No politician had ever been invited to GC to address students. Only public office holders are allowed to speak as guests in GCU according to its 170-year-old history. No sitting or retired Army General had been allowed to have an interactive session with students. However, COAS Gen Bajwa had such a session and Old Ravians expressed their dissatisfaction that this new tradition would lead GC into a political scene. Now former Prime Minister and Chairman of PTI Imran Khan was invited who categorically dragged Pakistan Army into politics in his speech. The arrangement for his lecture was not the work of a day or two. Everybody knew for the last 10 days that Imran Khan would address GC students on September 26, 2022, but Governor Punjab who is Chancellor of the University did not take any action against the college administration for creating a new tradition that is against the spirit of over 170 plus years’ traditions of GC (U) Lahore. After the event was held and PMLN leader Maryum Nawaz strongly objected to Imran’s speech in GC, the multiparty-appointed Governor Punjab Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman asked for an inquiry to determine the responsibility which allowed Imran Khan for holding a public meeting kind of meeting with students on the premises of GCU. Is it not a joke? Was he sleeping? Was the entire PMLN sleeping all 10 days before the event took place? What kind of inquiry is needed when everybody knows that nothing can happen without the permission of the Vice-Chancellor? You cannot allow a foreign academician to the lecture if you have not taken permission from the Head of the Department and I personally know the process of inviting anybody in GCU for a lecture needs 15 to 20 days process and several kinds of permissions from the Vice-Chancellor’s Office. Imran Khan was invited to GCU during the Musharraf era but only to inaugurate the Blood donation day held by GCU Blood Donar Society as head of Shaukat Khanam Hospital.
Strict action must be taken against Vice Chancellor Government College Uni for desecrating an educational institution by lending it to a Fitna & organising his jalsa on the premises. Using a seat of learning for political hate-mongering is a crime that should not go unpunished.
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) September 26, 2022
We know all rules of the country bow down in front of Imran Khan and even courts of law are making new traditions whenever they hear a case against Imran Khan but I always consider Government College as an exception and now this exception is no more exception.
Using the GCU ground to fan hatred against Pakistan Army will not end here because this is land that processes future leadership of the country. Trust me sowing hate against Pakistan Army among the minds of Ravians will be disastrous. In one of part of his speech, Imran Khan talks to students like a teacher and appreciated them stating that “you have passed the first examination” when a student raised his voice “Army”. Unfortunate to say that all this happened in the presence of the host —the Chancellor of GCU Dr. Asghar Zaidi. He is a social policy analyst and expert on population aging and he knows human psychology more than I. Some eyewitnesses present there informed me that Dr. Asghar Zaidi looked excited and kept smiling when Imran Khan was thrashing the multiparty party government and taunting Pakistan Army. I know Dr. Zaidi is a well-connected person and nothing would happen against him but he has started a wicked and negative tradition in Government College Lahore (University) and Old Ravians like must register their concern and distress.
Dr Asghar Zaidi in his speech said that there is a vacuum of leadership after Jinnah (Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah) and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and now the real leader is Imran Khan and he said he did not want to stay between students and “our leader Imran Khan”.
Dr Asghar Zaidi directed teachers to ensure the presence of students at the event.
I understand the PMLN-led multiparty government is kind enough to allow Imran Khan to do anything he wishes. I understand no reaction would come from Pakistan Army over this new event because Imran Khan has already erased all previously drawn “Redlines” against Pakistan Army but I request old Ravians to stand together to save their alma mater from dirty politics otherwise there would be no difference between GCU and any other college of the country.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.