Some students had reportedly arranged a stall for Israel which drew the ire of right-wing outfits, including Islami Jamiat Talaba
The International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) has removed the dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences (FMS) and a student adviser who were responsible for a three-day Model United Nations (MUN) event, which began on Friday.
The move followed reports that the university had organised an “Israeli cultural stall”, which began circulating on the Internet and via social media. This drew the ire of right-wing organisations, including the IIUI chapter of the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), which staged a demonstration outside the National Press Club on Sunday to condemn the stall.
The stall in question, photographs of which were circulated on social media, was organised by students of the FMS as part of the MUN event. MUNs held around the world feature several debates, committee sessions, as well as social events where teams are expected to showcase the culture of the countries they are representing. This exercise is aimed at contributing to students’ understanding of other peoples and countries around the world, while the debate portion of the event allows them to discuss and thrash out questions of global political significance amongst each other.
A statement issued by the university’s spokesperson, Hairan Khattak disowned responsibility for the event, saying “a few students arranged a stall for Israel without the knowledge and permission of the university authorities. IIUI strongly condemns the incident and no sooner did they come to know about the matter than the programme was cancelled without any further delay.”
The IIUI, in an apparent response to criticism from right-wing quarters, suspended FMS Dean Dr Bashir Khan and Student Adviser Tasneem Fatima. Dr Azizur Rehman, an assistant professor at the IIUI’s Faculty of Law and also adviser to the IIUI president, confirmed that punitive action was being taken against the two individuals.
He said that although the university administration was informed that the MUN event would be taking place, he maintained that the organisers had not provided details regarding the cultural event, nor had they sought permission to set up a stall depicting Israel.
“Since Pakistan does not have diplomatic ties with Israel and any mention of the country is a sensitive issue for the public at large, the administration feels that such a stall should not have been allowed at the event,” Dr Rehman said.