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IHC allows expelled girls to stay in IIUI hostel

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Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday ordered the administration of International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) to restore admission of three girl students to the hostel.

Neelam Jehan of PhD law, Romana Akbar of LLM Human Rights and Hibba Shabbir of LLB had been seeking the right of entry to the hostel rooms since January 1 when the IIUI administration expelled them for taking part in a protest.

The students were accused of leading a protest of some 350 female students on December 23, 2013 against the sudden hike in mess charges.

According to them IIUI provost Nighat Shakoor imposed Rs2,500 fortnightly charges on all girl students to recover Rs4 million deficits.

On Tuesday, an additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ), Rafaqat Awan, hearing the plea filed by the IIUI administration, asked the students to vacate the hostel in three days.
Justice Qureshi also suspended the order of ADSJ and directed the IIUI administration to submit the reply to the petition filed by the students.

Arguing the case, counsel for the petitioners, Sher Afzal Khan, told the court that the students had been living in the hostel for the last six to eight years, and not a single complaint was registered against them with the university’s administration during this time.

He contended that PhD student Jehan belonged to a far-flung area of Ladda in South Waziristan Agency where literacy rate was 0.3pc, and it was next to impossible for a girl from the area to acquire education to such a high level.

He denied the role of his clients in the December 23 protest, and said it was an assistant warden, Shiraz Akhtar, who falsely implicated them in it. When the students obtained stay order from the court, the university administration made it a prestige issue, and started unnecessary litigation against them, he said.

The IIUI administration did not even bother to honour court directives, and started victimising the women despite restraining orders passed by the worthy judges.

PhD student Jehan was even detained in the hostel room for 18 hours by the administration, he claimed.

Sher Afzal Khan also alleged before the court that the superintendent of police of I-9 area was a student of IIUI and he deliberately did not make a serious effort to get the female student released. She was recovered through a court bailiff after the district and sessions judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan issued orders.

The counsel informed the judge that the students also challenged their rustication in the civil court and the matter had been pending with the civil judge.

The girls have paid all dues within the specified time limit and were abiding by the rules of the university, therefore, there was no justification to expel them, and that too when all three students were two to four months away from completing their education, he added.

He said the university’s administration also handed over the luggage of the students to I-9 police station and asked the girls to take their belongings from there.

In the order the judge also directed the police authorities to return the students’ luggage.

The hearing on the matter has been adjourned.

It may be mentioned that the three students had also obtained pre-arrest bail from a local court against an FIR lodged against them by the university’s administration.

The administration on Monday got a criminal case registered against these students on the charge of threatening it with dire consequences.Dawn.

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