Police raids FAST-Lahore

An unplanned protest by the students and faculty of FAST received unexpectedly good media coverage and created this much of hype that FAST (after LUMS) has been singled out as the educational institute most active in the protests being arranged against the imposition of emergency.

How the print-media presented this event can be read the links below:

Its good to see the media coverage which but what the stories printed in these papers say are a bit inaccurate picture of the real story.

I was at work and got a call from a senior Sahics’ about this activity which started quite unexpectedly and was not a planned one. Later, I was in contact with him and others inside the campus through phone calls, SMS and emails getting to know the latest updates. I hardly was able to resist myself to jump to the campus but I was informed that movement in/out of the campus has been ceased by the cops. I took this as an opportunity to stay at work, kept on getting updates and all the nitty gritty details of the events happening at the campus were being updated to the alumni using the sahics_all email group. By the end of this event, that email chain (where various other members contributed as well) became a record of this historical event.

The email chain was formalized in form of a write-up by another Sahics’ later which I present here, which gives quite an accurate picture of the event.

Brief Version – 7thNovember 2007

14:23hrs: Police at FAST-Lahore
14:45hrs: One protesting student arrested by Police.
14:52hrs: Gates closed, seems like students are being dispersed.
14:59hrs: Police raided inside the Campus. 3 Arrested.
15.04hrs: Campus surrounded well. No one can come in or go out!
15:19hrs: Devestated by the situation. Students are trying to reach GEO and ARY news channels.
15:29hrs: Photos are being taken by the students ’emselves. GEO and ARY teams are approaching soon.
15:49hrs: Student arrested. Reported as beaten by the Police.
15:53hrs: Police released 3 students arrested earlier. Faculty members and former University Directors are out there with the studnets.
16:17hrs: Female Students are allowed to go. One boy remained in custody for some time.
16:19hrs: Cops allowing Female students to leave. One of current permanent faculty of FAST has burst with harsh tone, protesting against Musharraf’s policies and unsolicited steps.
16:26hrs: Policemen gone. Students were addressed by faculty.
16:44hrs: Peaceful protest ended, peacefully. Patience of Faculty Members, Students and Police Management (as they haven’t been seen ‘that’ brutal and released the students) is commendable. Some more updates by the students.
16:45hrs: “Do not participate in the protest! we will not delay exams– mids or finals and will not give any holidays so concentrate on ur studies!” – Campus Admin urged responsibly.
17:06hrs: Protest Plan of Friday will be announced later. There were at least FIVE faculty members including Senior Professors were taking part. Arrested guy was not among protestors! (See details).

Detailed Version

[09/07 – 14:23hrs]
Around one hundred students gathered at the gate of FAST, Lahore along with a few faculty members for a peaceful protest against emergency. Police, after getting this information and expecting that this crowd will grow large in numbers and will be heading to somewhere , reached the campus. Seeing the police, all the protectors moved into the campus through the gate. The police later closed the gates of FAST and is still there monitoring the situation though the purpose was just to show a peaceful protest and it was totally an unplanned activity, the crowd was not heading anywhere other than to protest being there at the campus gate.

[09/07 – 14:45hrs]
Adding more, Police has arrested one of the students who was protesting!

[09/07 – 14:52hrs]
The students had *already* dispersed *peacefully* when the police closed the gates

[09/07 – 14:59hrs]
Update: Police entered into the campus and arrested 3 guys. They have surrounded the campus.

[09/07 – 15:04hrs]
The campus has been surrounded no one can come in and no one can go out.

[09/07 – 15:19hrs]
GEO and ARY are being called to cover FAST by a student! (Students are crossing their fingers as to see ‘What happens now…’

[09/07 – 15:29hrs]
Update: ARY and GEO has been called though not yet reached the campus. Photos and videos are been taken and will be published today later. The police is till in the campus, surrounding it and some of them inside the campus. Students are urging if any contacts on AAJ TV Network will be appreciated.

Does the fact that Waseem Sajjad is the Chancellor and Musharraf is the Patron of this University make people stop? NO !

[09/07 – 15:49hrs]
A student has been beaten by the police.

[09/07 – 15:53hrs]
Update: Police has released the three guys arrested earlier but are still inside the campus insisting that the guys who were holding the placards, charts etc should be handed over to police’s custody. The atmosphere is quite tense a the campus. Other faculty members are out there with the students.

[09/07 – 16:17hrs]
Female students have been allowed to go but not the male students yet. A student of Sahics’06 batch, was taken in custody for some time.

[09/07 – 16:19hrs]
Update: The cops are allowing the females students to move out of the campus. The guy who was beaten up by the police is still in their custody. The police is not moving away thinking if they will move, it might turn out to be a large-scale protest. A Faculty member, has talked to the police in quite a harsh tone and openly blamed Mush.

[09/07 – 16:22hrs]
First Amateur Video Released on Youtube – http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=EigEkmX8kX4

(A guy of Sahics ’02 batch) managed to capture that video, though it depicts the situation after the protest.

[09/07 – 16:26hrs]
Update: All policemen have gone. Students were addressed by faculty members.

[09/07 – 16:44hrs]
Update: Police forced the university administration to ask the students to disperse. Admin along with a faculty member talked to the students and advised them to get dispersed and move to homes in groups.

The cops have been insisting that those guys holding placards should be handed over to them during their talks with the faculty. The faculty refused to do so and the placards had been already hide. Since, It wasn’t a planned protest and the students themselves had dispersed earlier when the police arrived, now after the advice of the faculty member, the students are moving homes. The cops have left the campus but some of them still waiting outside the campus.

The idea was just to show a peaceful protest which has been successfully managed and has been made more successful with the intervention of cops!

[09/07 – 16:45hrs]
The campus admin also said that – “Do not participate in the protest! we will not delay exams– mids or finals and will not give any holidays so concentrate on ur studies!”. While the organizers say that The peaceful struggle will be continued!

[09/07 – 17:06hrs]
The number of faculty members taking part in the protest (which was planned about an hour before the protest, not even announced to all) was at least FIVE including senior professors. Protest plan of friday to be announced later.

PS: The arrested guy was released later. He was NOT from the protestors, he got arrested when he was told that ‘do not go out’ and he still tried to exit.

FAST is considered one of the most prestigious institutes of the country and probably the best when it comes to Computer Sciences. FASTians have well proved their abilities as good professionals, its good to see them showing sensitivity to the surroundings and acting as responsible citizens.

I, being a member of FAST family, feel proud !

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