PU students rally for professor ousted over activism



  • PU VC claims few students gathered upon ‘instigation’ who dispersed after ‘learning Ammar was not uni employee’

LAHORE: Students from the Institute of Cultural and Social Sciences and other departments of Punjab University (PU) on Tuesday staged a protest against the recent dismissal of Dr Ammar Ali Jan, a former assistant professor at the department of sociological sciences.

However, contrary to the videos circulating on the social media of the protest, the PU’s VC continued denying that students protested or Dr Ammar was ever an employee of the university.

Talking to Pakistan Today, Dr Zakaria Zakar denied that the students protested against the ‘firing’ of the former professor, saying that few students gathered upon “instigation”, but they dispersed when they were told that Ammar wasn’t a university’s employee to begin with.

“Ammar was troublemaker from the start that’s why he was also fired from Government College University as well,” the VC added.

He further said that the university did Ammar a favour by hiring him on a contractual basis, adding, “If Ammar wants to succeed as an academic, he should refrain from getting involved in politics.”

“Universities are not places for playing politics, students come here to study.”

Responding to another question, he said that the former assistant professor is more than welcome to move courts against the university as “Ammar has no proof whatsoever that the university hired him”.

On the other hand, the protesting students contradicted the vice chancellor’s claims, saying that at least 100 students had gathered to protest the sacking of the former assistant professor.

One of the protesters told Pakistan Today that “not only did we protest, we also staged a walk towards mass communications department, raised slogans and delivered speeches.” “The administration tried to stop us, but we told them ‘it’s our democratic right’,” she said.

Calling it “unethical” to fire a professor in the middle of the semester, she said, “Many students are without a supervisor after the dismissal who will have to follow some other outline now.”

Another student, Mohsin Abdali, criticised the university management’s decision of terminating the services of Dr Ammar, saying that the public sector universities have started to think that only private universities deserve good teachers.

“Why should children of rich industrialists and generals only get the opportunity to study from ‘foreign educated intelligent teachers’?” he questioned.

On Saturday, Ammar Ali Jan claimed that his services were terminated by the administration due to his “increased engagement” with students groups, however, the varsity’s vice chancellor had denied the charge.

Ammar Ali Jan had said that the university administration always had a problem with him for highlighting various social issues, including sexual harassment, whereas Dr Zakir had said that Ammar was no longer a faculty member as his contract had not been renewed in January.