Master of Business Administration Executive
Faculty / School
Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)
Year of Award
MBA Executive Research Project
Pakistan has a rich hisloiy of student political activism, from the creation of Pakistan to the agitation against the dictatorship of General Ayyub Khan etc., students had always been a vital part of Pakistani politics, but now long gone are the days when we saw the students playing their role in mainstream politics. In 1984, General Zia-ul-Haq imposed a nationwide ban on student unions in colleges and universities. The reason he provided for the ban was violence although ironically, the weapons were introduced in student politics for the first time during his era.
After the ban on Students’ Unions, there were certain groups which were allowed to operate inside the campuses with arms and weapons due to which student politics became more violent with each passing day. In 1993, Supreme Court of Pakistan has put a blanket ban on politics inside the campuses and again the ruling was made on the basis of campus violence. Ironically, the parties who were involved in the violence are still active in universities but the only thing which has suffered is the democratic institution for young leaders called “student unions”.
After so many years of democratic rule, the student union ban is still in place and no one is putting enough effort for its restoration. In this report, we tried to find out the roadblocks, reasons and the bottlenecks for the restoration of student unions in Pakistan and analyze if the current situation and environment is suitable for student politics. For that reason, numerous articles /literature which was written in the past on this topic has been reviewed. The findings of this research also comprise of gist of several one-to-one interviews of the politicians who started their political career through student politics. A survey of different universities’ students was also conducted to figure out their opinion about students’ politics at the campuses.
The mainstream political parties are least concerned about the ban because most of them no longer interested in recruitment from campuses, understandably because the politics here is mainly family oriented hierarchical business and the legislators want their family members and relatives to replace them instead of providing a room for someone new unrelated coming from student politics. Students can be hostile and demanding at times, so they also don’t Want to create any kind of rift inside their parties as well.
As for current students, they are least concerned about politics as they have never seen any student union elections during their life time and most part of their student life was under the military rule. The campus administrations arc also reluctant as they had a history of violence in student politics in recent years and without a proper code of conduct and policy, they could not take a risk by themselves [Interestingly, there has rarely been an incident of violence in the Madarasas / religious schools and even there politics is a Shajar-e-Mamnooa].
In this report, I have discussed the roadblocks regarding student unions and analyze the current environment for the restoration of student unions. In the end, I have also provided the recommendations on the basis of my findings.
Mannan,, A. (2017). Student politics in Pakistan (Unpublished graduate research project). Institute of Business Administration, Pakistan. Retrieved from https://ir.iba.edu.pk/research-projects-emba/127
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