Opposition leaders meet govt members in parliament lodges

Sindh Assembly passes bill to restore student unions

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KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly Friday unanimously passed a bill to restore student unions across the educational institutions of the province, with provincial minister Saeed Ghani terming it a “historic move.”

The Sindh Students Union Bill, 2019, got the nod after the provincial assembly’s standing committee on law recently approved the bill to restore the unions in educational institutions after a gap of nearly four decades.

Under the act, every private and government educational institution will have a student union.

The bill further states that registered students will be able to vote for or join the Student Union.

Students will be able to form a union of 7 to 11 student members through annual elections. Unions would be represented on the institute’s syndicate, in the Senate and on the anti-harassment committee, the bill said.

The bill mentions that students are not allowed to use or possess weapons on campus, adding that educational institutions will decide on union-related rules and regulations two months after the bill is passed.

It has been 38 years since former military ruler General Zia-Haq banned students from gathering on university and college campuses to demand their rights.

“The revival of students union will certainly pave the way for a healthy and conducive environment for social and cultural interaction among communities,” the text of the bill read.

Chief Minister shares views on bill
Speaking on the floor of the house after the bill was passed, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah said a dictator had banned the student union – which plays an important role in developing students.

“Jamaat-e-Islami supported us a lot in the regard. Other Opposition parties also backed the bill,” the chief minister said as he reminisced his days as a student. “I witnessed the last days of the students’ unions.”

“We will not, in any way, allow the unions to affect or suspend educational activities on campus,” he stressed.

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