Critical Facebook posts leave students' fate hanging in balance -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Critical Facebook posts leave students’ fate hanging in balance

Pakistan Press Foundation

LAHORE: After being expelled by the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) for putting up critical Facebook posts, the future of certain students hangs in the balance despite assurances from the varsity that they would be reinstated.

Talking to The Express Tribune, an expelled student, requesting anonymity, said the administration had not allowed them to return despite the passage of a month. He said the students were called by the administration and a meeting was held between their parents and the administration.

“Parents of the students were made to sign an affidavit similar to the one signed during admission. It says the students will not participate in any illegal, political or immoral activity. In a meeting held two days before Eid, we were told that the notification [of reinstatement] will be issued in the week after Eid holidays. However, no notification has been issued so far. The situation is even more stressful as the new semester will start in August and we might miss some classes if we are not reinstated before that.”

When contacted, UAF Public Relations and Publications Principal Officer Dr Jalal Zafar said the administration held a hearing for the accused students with their parents. He said authorities were in the process of issuing a notification for their reinstatement.

In June, the UAF administration expelled six students on the charges of ‘bringing a bad name to the university’. A charge-sheet cum show cause notice was issued to the students. It read “You have been involved in spreading undesirable comments/remarks against the university administration on social media (Facebook) with the name of Roznama UAF. You have been involved in misleading and trapping the students’ community. You have been involved in defaming, damaging repute and bringing a bad name to the university.”

The university said in a statement that it had expelled the students after it found they were involved in posting material against the UAF’s management on a Facebook page. According to the statement, the students were expelled in accordance to Students Regulation 1978 Clause IV.

The statement added students have the right to appeal to the vice chancellor against the ruling. However, the expelled students maintained that they were not involved with any Facebook page and had not made any statement against the varsity.

The expelled students included Umer Bilal from the Institute of Horticultural Sciences, Muhammad Asfandyar from Department of Agronomy, Zubair Iqbal from Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics and Ghulam Jillani from Institute of Business Management Sciences, and Mubashir Ali and Ahsan Safdar, who are doing a Diploma in Tunnel Farming.

Express Tribune