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Voiceless and frustrated, Pakistani students speak out

[2019.12.01, Sun 22:03] A A A. Internews /Islamabad. The youth of Pakistan make up 60% of the population, and if the voices at Friday's Student Solidarity March are to be believed, they are frustrated. On a crisp, sunny afternoon, hundreds of students from the capital gathered in the ground outside the National Press Club to demand the restoration of student unions. They were among thousands of students who rallied in cities all over the country on November 29.The students also demanded the allocation of 5% of the GDP to education, an end to privatisation of educational institutions, provision of basic facilities for students, and the constitution of sexual harassment committees in educational institutions. It was led by an alliance of leftist student organisations called the Student Action Committee, and included students from the Progressive Students Federation, the Progressive Students Collective, the Revolutionary Students Federation, the Baloch Students Organisation, and the Pashtun Student Federation. The students' frustration was palpable, borne of the decades since student unions were banned in 1984, as well as a string of local and national incidents that have left students asking, as former PSF Islamabad-Rawalpindi president Hasrat Ali Turi said: "What is being done to us?"Now students are thinking that the problem is structural," he said, adding: "We are voiceless, even though we are the main stakeholders. A student from Quetta who said she was affiliated with the BSO said that students are treated like criminals in universities. Haris, a student from the National University of Science and Technology, said that although he is not affiliated with any organisation, he believes that students should be able to express themselves and have their voices heard.
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