Rangers restore the peace

November 3, 2000

After 11 years of armed paramilitary presence on the campus of the University of Karachi, a relative peace reigns. But there is still little democracy - student unions were banned in 1984.

"If the political parties eliminate their student wings, I will send the rangers away," said Zafar Zaidi, vice-chancellor of the university. "But the rangers were called in to establish a peaceful environment in the campus, and there is peace in the campus today."

The rangers were deployed by the governor of Sindh in November 1989 after bloody clashes between the Punjabi Students Federation and the All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organisation, in which three students were killed. Throughout the 1980s, the university was a battleground, with gun battles among rival student groups becoming a normal feature.

Since 1989, there has been just one killing: in April 1999, a student was clubbed to death during a clash between two groups.

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