HRCP shocked at police brutality against Bahawalpur students

Lahore, August 25: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed serious concern over police brutality against students of a medical college in Bahawalpur who were protesting against electricity outages and demanded all authorities, including police officials, who authorized the use of force must be proceeded against.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, HRCP said: “As if police connivance in the killing of two young brothers in Sialkot was not enough to tarnish its image, it has been followed by a brutal attack on students, including girls, of Quaid-e-Azam Medical College, graphic images of which have been carried by the media.

The students had been observing a strike to demand mainly exemption of their college and its hostels from electricity load shedding. The college administration called in police which fired teargas shells on protesters and beat them with batons. Over 80 students were taken into custody and at least nine have been sent to jail.

HRCP is dismayed over the apparently disproportionate and uncalled for use of force against the students and demands that the police personnel responsible for the violence and the officials who authorised resort to violence must be proceeded against and the use of force against protesting students must be discontinued forthwith. The students taken into custody must be released immediately and allowed to resume their studies. The Commission advises the college administration to facilitate the students affected by the massive floods who may not be able to submit tens of thousands in fees at a short notice. HRCP also urges the administration to resist the tendency to call upon the police to resolve matters which could easily have been addressed through amicable means.”

Dr Mehdi Hasan

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