After the suicide attack at the University of Karachi (KU) on Tuesday that claimed the lives of four persons, including three Chinese faculty members, it emerged that the Pakistani director of the Confucius Institute at the KU had demanded security for the Chinese faculty as the institute.
KU Confucius Institute Director Dr Nasiruddin Khan had on April 6 written a letter to KU Security Adviser Dr Muhammad Zubair to ask for security arrangements for the Chinese faculty members. The letter was written in response to an earlier letter sent by the security adviser to the varsity high-ups regarding security concerns for the Chinese faculty.
On March 30, Dr Zubair wrote to the KU vice chancellor, registrar and Bhittai Rangers 72 wing commander to bound the Chinese faculty members of the varsity not to move without the Rangers and police’ protection.
“It has been observed that Chinese teachers often move from foreign faculty guest houses outside the campus without Rangers and police protection,” the letter read. The security adviser further wrote that in case any mishap occurred, the KU security would not be responsible.
As the Confucius Institute director came to know about the security adviser’s letter, he wrote a letter in response to it to Dr Zubair on April 6. “I would like to appreciate your concerns. Being Pakistani, we know that our beloved country and China have an extraordinary relationship and the security and safety of the respected Chinese faculty, posted at the Confucius Institute, are our collective prime objective,” read the letter penned by Dr Khan.
The Confucius Institute director then reminded the security adviser that it was his responsibility to look after all the matters related to the security of the students, faculty and university property with the assistance of the Rangers and police. “Therefore, it is important to realize that rather than shifting the responsibility to another, we should devise standard operating procedure for the smooth and secure movement of Chinese faculty and share it with the concerned agencies for its effective implementation.”
Dr Zubair was appointed as the KU security adviser last month after Prof Dr Nasira Khatoon took the charge of the KU acting vice chancellor following the removal of Prof Dr Khalid Iraqi from the acting VC’s post on court orders.
Prof Nasira removed then security adviser Dr Moeez Khan and handed over the security responsibilities of the campus to Dr Zubair of the Islamic studies department. When Dr Zubair was contacted after the blast, he said he had arrived in Bahawalpur a day ago and he was on leave till May 5.
In 2015, the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan had approved security grants ranging from Rs30 million to Rs50 million for security arrangements at the campuses, but a majority of those funds were spent on other means.
As a result, security guards at the varsity are untrained. They are also armless and unable to thwart such incidents.
A majority of the security guards are working on a daily wages. The varsity has not upgraded even its boundary wall while construction of search towers has also been delayed. Security guards have no security tools such as walkie-talkies while in some parts, CCTV cameras are also dysfunctional.
The security guards and campus security officers seem unaware about security rules. Last year, guards at the KU had staged a protest demanding uniforms, water coolers and basic increment in their salaries.
It is worth mentioning here that during the past year, incidents such as snatchings, theft, and harassment of students were reported on the campus but no concrete steps were taken by the KU administration to improve security.
Law enforcers’ failure
It is not the case that only security guards are responsible for law and order situation at the varsity as the Rangers and intelligence officials are also deployed in the varsity. Personnel of the Bhittai Rangers Wing 72 are constantly present on the campus and maintain checkpoints.
However, these security agencies failed to assess the security situation on the campus.
The acting administration of the KU condemned the blast and expressed condolences to the families of the deceased Chinese teachers.
In a joint statement, KU Acting VC Prof Nasira, Acting Registrar Prof Dr Maqsood Ali Ansari and Confucius Institute Director Dr Khan expressed grief over the unfortunate incident on Tuesday afternoon.
They said that such cowardly and nefarious attempts to undermine Pak-China friendship would not be allowed to succeed under any circumstances. “We hope that the government will punish the elements involved in such activities and believe that every possible step will be taken to trace the elements behind the attack”.
Meanwhile, the KU administration also announced that there would be no academic activities and public dealing in the varsity today.