The sit-in protest at Balochistan University of Engineering and Technology in Khuzdar has entered its fourth day, with students refusing to lift their boycott of exams until a series of demands are met. Central to the student grievances are the non-implementation of previously promised reforms, as well as the recent arrests of their peers.
On Tuesday, the university administration reportedly requested a large force from the Frontier Corps (FC) to disperse the protesting students within the campus. During this operation, it is alleged that the police used force against the students. Several students remain in police custody.
Attempts to negotiate between the protesting students and the university administration on Tuesday night ended without any agreement.
The students’ demands include a reduction in fees, removal of ‘unnecessary’ surveillance cameras on campus, restoration of scholarships, and the lifting of restrictions on study circles. They also demand a replacement for the current examination controller, whom they accuse of intimidating behaviour.
The protesting students accuse the administration of reneging on their promise by assigning the examination responsibilities back to the same controller who, they claim, has a history of intimidating students.
The university’s handling of the protest has attracted widespread criticism from student and political organisations throughout Balochistan. The decision to involve the FC has been particularly contentious, with critics claiming they disrupted peaceful protests and used excessive force.
The central spokesperson of the Baloch Students Action Committee (BSAC) voiced their concern over the alleged use of force against students and expressed solidarity with the students of the Balochistan University of Engineering and Technology. They also condemned any attempts to suppress the democratic and constitutional right to protest.
Despite no resolution in sight and ongoing arrests, the students have declared their intention to continue the sit-in protest until their demands are met and their detained colleagues are released.