Student Unions as nurseries of leadership

Student unions are the nurseries of leadership and natural leadership comes out from these institutions. They hold debates between students from opposing parties. This helps create tolerance for differing viewpoints and helps students learn the ‘agree to disagree’ approach. Students learn the power of a vote and leaders learn that they must be humble or face a rout in the next elections. Pakistan came into existence on the basis of the political ideology and the leaders rendered matchless sacrifices for achieving the motherland. We need to have such genuine politicians for today’s Pakistan. It was students’ union which struggled against the dictatorship and changed political arena of the country.
The year was 1984 when then ruler of the country, late General Ziaul Haq, proclaimed the ban on student politics at university and college campuses across the country. The move was apparently an attempt to curb increasing violence and clashes between students on the Left and Right sides of the ideological divide. Ironically, the continued ban has not only failed to end violence on campuses, but also resulted in stifling the intellectual growth and social development of students.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan on December 1st, 2018 expressed the government’s willingness to allow the restoration of student unions subject to the establishment of a “comprehensive and enforceable code of conduct”. In a tweet the Premier said that Universities groom future leaders of the country & student unions form an integral part of this grooming. Unfortunately, in Pakistan universities’ student unions became violent battlegrounds & completely destroyed the intellectual atmosphere on campuses
Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan government in AJK is proud to have already enacted student’s union across the Pakistan. Haider’s Govt. is now planning to hold its elections. On Oct 26, 2018 AJK Premier Khan announced that the AJK government has decided to restore students’ union in the State on the eve of two-day seminar “Karavan-e-Haq-e-Khud Iradiyat” held jointly by University of AJK and Kashmir Liberation Cell in the State’s capital town.Addressing the concluding session of seminar the Prime Minister AJK called upon University students to expose Indian atrocities and human rights abuses against Kashmiris through social media. The Premier observed that students played a pivotal role in all the struggles that were started in the world. He said Universities make the policies and their role is recognized at international level among educational institutions.
On November 30, 2019 the Premier Raja Farooq Haider Khan announced holding of Students’ Union elections across the state. The Prime Minister said we need to train our youth politically to enable them decide future of the country and shoulder their responsibilities with enlightened vision. “We cannot achieve political development in the country until the promotion of ideological politics”.
It is doubtful that Pakistan would have been formed without the passionate young scholars of Aligarh College. The Muslim Students Federation, a student wing of the All India Muslim League, played an important role in the Pakistan Movement. Student unions are training grounds that provide Students to the national mainstream. The indulgence in constructive debate, campaigning for intra-university positions, developing small-scale governance policies, highlighting and resolving issues affecting the student body and ensuing accountability are cited as some of the drills that made students turn into fine individuals who could shape the country’s future for the better.
An interesting thing to note here, especially for skeptics who believe that student politics results only in violence is that more students were killed after the ban on student politics than before. This is expected when one realizes amount of energy contained in youth. In the Countries where multicultural groups live, the democratic principle of equality forms the basis of any progressive political movement.
The representation of students from diverse backgrounds in the student organisations will help them in encouraging unity across people of different ethnicities and religions. This will allow students, and maybe our future political leaders, to make pragmatic decisions instead of ones based on ethnic and religious lines. In the past, when the students stood up, nothing was able to hold them back. The government should establish a comprehensive code of conduct so that the student unions could play their role in positively grooming our youth as future leaders of the country. It is high time to work towards the restoration of student unions but with the new rules and regulations.

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