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24 January 2018 Last updated 3 hours ago

Punjab University's Pakhtun students protest against IJT

The Pakhtun students of Punjab University on Wednesday staged a protest against the Islami Jamiat Taleba (IJT), a rival student group, in Lahore, while also accusing police of being sympathetic to the latter's demands.

The Pakhtun students' rally, which progressed from Punjab University's Old Campus towards the Lahore Press Club, was held with heightened tensions between the two student groups in the backdrop.

One student, Usman Ijaz, had earlier been injured in a firing incident in the university's hostels.

The IJT had held protests across the city after Ijaz was shot, demanding that the police take immediate action against Pakhtun students who, they alleged, were responsible for opening fire.

The police had, in response, filed a case against unidentified suspects.

In Wednesday's rally, Pakhtun students cried foul at what they termed discrimination by the police, asking why law enforcers had failed to take action on their behalf on several occasions in the past when they are attacked by students of the IJT.

Police was deployed around Lahore's Mall Road as the rally progressed.

At least ten students were injured last month in clashes that ensued when members of the IJT crashed a Pakhtun cultural event at the Punjab University.

Following the clash, a large contingent of police had arrived at the campus and used tear gas to disperse the violent crowd.

In the days following the incident, several arrests were made and PU issued orders banning the entrance of political, religious and social personalities in the university premises.

The IJT is a right-wing student body that often operates in university campuses across the country as the de facto moral police. IJT members have in the past objected to Valentine's Day celebrations and the playing of music at certain cultural events, and have repeatedly been accused of harassing young men and women for socialising together.