Jo Sub Say Bara Bay-emaan Hai
Woh Sadr-e-Pakistan Hai!
LUMS saw its fourth consecutive day of protest against the Martial Law on November 8th, 2007. Despite the avalanche of overdue assignments and impending examinations, approximately 150 students showed up, along with several members of the faculty at the Sports Complex to show their continuing dissent against the martial law, the blatant abuse of human rights and the tyrannical suppression of our judiciary and media.
Other than the students who came up to speak in front of a peacefully assembled crowd we had speeches by Aasim Sajjad, faculty member of the Social Sciences department, an Alumnus lawyer, and our Vice Chancellor.
Defying the poor acoustics of the hall, Aasim Sajjad’s voice rang out clear, congratulating the students for fulfilling their duty to their conscience and their country and for successfully making their voices heard all over the world. He related the incidents that transpired during the peaceful protest held in Islamabad, of which he and his wife were both a part; the group of 20-30 civilians were surrounded by a police force ten times their number and brutally manhandled. He clarified that this is not just a political war but a moral one which must be fought by all people at all fronts. Nothing, he said, can justify the heinous manner in which innocent people are being beaten, tear-gassed, tortured and arrested without regard to their gender, age or any other factor that characterizes a human being. It is not only our right to raise our voices against the State which has sanctioned such barbarism but our duty to do so. He urged the students to be organized and safe, and to make this movement strong by striking a balance between caution and courage; his final words expressed his firm belief in the success of this struggle.
A member of the LUMS alumni, who is at present one of the defiant lawyers upholding the struggle on the judicial front, came up to express his happiness over the students’ support. Being a former LUMS student he was especially proud that the faculty and students of his university were among the first to raise their voice against the tyranny of the government. He emphasized the need to ensure our own safety first, to exercise caution and to avoid getting arrested, which, he maintained, should be left to the lawyers. He urged the students to continue the struggle and not to stop till our goals are achieved.
Our Vice Chancellor also expressed the administration’s support regarding freedom of expression; he reminded us to fulfill our academic responsibilities, to speak our minds clearly and loudly but at the same time tolerate others’ opinions. He said the students’ right to speak their hearts and their minds would be protected by him and the administration however he also asserted the need to keep our protest within the normal parameters of university rules. The day we cannot express our opinions and our views freely, he said, LUMS will stop being the academic institution it prides itself to be.
Aasim Sajjad also sang a revolutionary song to the beat of the students’ rhythmic clapping, while the Students Action Committee showed two presentations covering the massive protest held in LUMS on 7th November, 2007, further raising the spirits of those present.
Among the things discussed and ideas passed around two of the most important suggestions were: to write letters of support and comfort to the lawyers who are under house arrest and are completely deprived of any outside information, and to flood the CNN ireports (www.cnn.com) with messages expressing our dissent against the martial law and human rights’ abuse in the country.
In the meantime, Police remained stationed outside LUMS the entire day, monitoring students moving in and out. Reports abound of phone lines being tapped and emails being monitored. Attempts to intimidate and silence us contine.
But is essential that the fervour remain, that we persevere in whatever manner possible, against the injustice, against the oppression, until we bring them to their knees.
In Complete Unity.