Militancy, terrorism in University



Khwaja Izhar of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan came under an armed attack on September 2 as soon as he left a mosque after offering Eid prayers in Karachi's Buffer Zone locality. He remained unhurt in the incident but one of his police guards and his friend's son suffered serious bullet wounds and died. One of the assailants who were later identified as Hassaan, a lab technician in the Dawood University of Engineering and Technology (DUET) was also killed under controversial circumstances. Ansar-ul-Shariah Pakistan claims responsibility for Eid day attack on MQM leader. A few hours later, intelligence officials along with a heavy contingent of police carried out a targeted raid in Rufi Rose Petals Bungalows. As the militant fired indiscriminately, one intelligence official and two policemen sustained bullet wounds and one of them, identified as Constable Aijaz, died. Malir SSP said that the militant managed to escape. He identified the suspect as Abdul Karim Sarosh Siddiqui who he said is linked with the ASP. According to him, Siddiqui was a student of Karachi University's Applied Physics Department in 2011. His father was a retired professor of the same university. He was taken into custody for questioning, the SSP said. Initially, police claimed that the law enforcers chased the fleeing suspects and managed to kill one of them. However, footage made from CCTV cameras and cellophanes showed charged people beating up one of the suspects after catching him. It was unclear as to how the suspect ended up dead. Sindh Home Minister Sohail Siyal ordered DIG-South Azad Khan to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the death of the attacker. The DIG told that the inquiry was still under way as the police were waiting for the final medico-legal report. 9mm pistol was also seized from deceased Hassaan. The 9mm pistol was sent to the forensic lab which confirmed that the same weapon was used in the targeted killings of four policemen in SITE in June and the assassination of a DSP-Traffic and his constable driver in Azizabad in August. They said that both the attacks were claimed by the ASP, which threw pamphlets on the scenes of crime. 
There is a growing fear of student involvement with militant groups and terrorism. Radicalizations have been obvious for many years; and extremist groups have operated freely and openly in many seats of learning. Given that law-enforcement agencies have been unable to implement the National Action Plan (NAP) in respect of vetting seminaries and educational institutions nationwide. Alarmed over reports of a university student's involvement in the attack on the leader of the opposition in Sindh Assembly on Eid day, two major public sector varsities in the city held meetings  to brainstorm ideas on how to check trends of extremism and militancy in students. All deans of Karachi University as well as university syndicate and academic council members attended the meeting that was chaired by the varsity's Vice Chancellor Prof Mohammad Ajmal Khan. A similar discussion was held at the NED University of Engineering and Technology. Everybody was visibly concerned over the report that they believed has damaged the university's reputation. The teachers found the issue very challenging. The participants realized that there is a big question mark over their capacity, the ability of our law enforcement agencies as well as how serious the government is in addressing this problem. The sources said some of the suggestions discussed during the two-hour deliberations included students' clearance from police before their admission and registration of an FIR if any student was found guilty of submitting fake documents. However, some teachers said that police verification wouldn't be fruitful given the low credibility of police department.
The meeting decided that the university would coordinate and take assistance from law enforcement agencies for students' security, according to a press release issued by KU. The Kuts president said slums and illegally occupied land surrounding the university campus needed to be monitored.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah visited the residence of Opposition Leader Khwaja Izhar to express solidarity with him. He told reporters later that his government had given ample security to MQM leaders and other important personalities and would provide them more security if needed. "The attack on Izahr-ul-Hasan was an attempt to create fear and insecurity in the city but Almighty Allah kept him safe", he said. He said that the planning of the attack "must have been made out of this city and may be out this country". He said he would conduct a security audit and verification of students of each and every educational institution to ascertain if they were breeding terrorists. "It is quite painful to see the highly educated persons involved in terrorism," he said.
The Eid day attack on Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader Khwaja Izhar ul Hassan shows that there is the unfinished task of dismantling militant outfits and establishing law and order in Karachi. In this context the law enforcement agencies need to do but it would have to be done in coordination with political parties and the civil society organizations. The presence of the educated in militant in Pakistani cities have been noticed. The issue had surfaced a couple of years ago with news of Institute of Business Administration student Saad Aziz's alleged involvement in Sabeen Mahmud's killing and was highlighted only recently at a conference held in Karachi of vice chancellors of higher education institutes. The presence of the educated among the ranks of the religious militants a dangerous sign and urgent efforts be made to tackle religious extremism in education system. Those found involved in such incidents are associated with faculties of natural sciences, engineering and business management should not be ignored. Similar education profiles of Islamist militants have been observed in studies in other countries as well. There may be some of the graduates of such programmes who may be opting for militancy needs may have to be examined systematically. NED University teachers at a meeting held on their campus agreed that a sense of participation would have to be inculcated among students as well as the entire administrative staff if militancy threat was to be tackled successfully. A meeting of the Rangers' commander would soon be organized with students in which they would be informed of steps that could help law enforcement agencies in tracking down criminals.