History of Student Politics and Its Revival in Pakistan.

Byline: Abdul Qadir Mushtaq, Nasir Amir, Fariha Sohil and Zil-e-Huma Rafique


Pakistan is a state with strong and vigor class structure that culminate its roots in political, social, cultural, educational and religious spheres of life. Political culture is dominated by feudal-industrialists-religious-bureaucratic-military oligarchy. These sections of the society contest elections with great pump and show of wealth and develop the perception about electoral system of Pakistan that only influential and financially sound leadership can contest elections and will strive for the prosperity of labor class which has majority in Pakistan. In this way, three classes establish the cluster of the society, feudal, industrialist and labor. There is no need of struggle to feudal class for their survival because their ancessators were allotted agriculture lands by their masters in colonial period. The tenants make strenuous efforts for the cultivation of the land but major share of crops are gone to the land owners.

Second major class of this feeble society is the cluster of industrialists; they invest huge wealth and establish their industries. The major contribution in their success is the effort of labor class that manufactures the goods. The industrialists sell these goods on high prices but give very low remuneration to labor. It is another form of exploitation that gives impetus to trade unions and labor unions. These three classes are distinct from each other in culture, traditions, institutions, thoughts and way of living. Feudal and industrialist classes prefer inter-marriages and their second option is the servants of official institutions like bureaucracy, police, judiciary and armed forces. Oligarchy of these sections is established over the system of Pakistan and they look after the interests of each other. But this oligarchy form only twenty percent of the population of Pakistan.

Eighty percent population consist of labor class which has distinct its culture, traditions, institutions and way of living from upper two classes. This class sends their children in government schools and feudal-industrialists prefer private educational institutions for schooling of which are meant for that class. The educational system of Pakistan generates two classes for running the affairs of the state. The graduates of the private institutions come with extra exposure and modern knowledge that depends on international standard of curriculum and way of teachings. The graduates of government institutions have less their exposure and are followers of traditional education with this perception that modern education is harmful for society and they refuse to accept the modern techniques of education. Simultaneously, the examination system in government institutions do not base on thoughts or creative things but it depends on set pattern that do not lead towards creativity.

The government educational institutions are generating social, political and religious blind followers.The future of Pakistan's education system turns darker every passing day. Quality of education offered in our country has plummeted way below what could be considered remotely acceptable by any standard and divides between the haves and have nots is abysmally huge. Quality education is becoming more and more unattainable for the hard working middle and lower class strata of society. The elite of the country are the only ones who are able to achieve quality education that too by paying staggering amounts of tuition fees. The change in society is not possible without rooting out those elements which have crept into the system of Pakistan.

The characters of this change may be deprived classes of society i.e farmers, labor and students. SadiaBaloch from the University of Balochistan says

"We do not want education to be based on class differences. All students should have access to the same systems and quality of education...."1

Pakistan has traced the history and evolution of student politics since the partition of sub-continent. The politics of students can be summarized with some historical events. During the Partition of Bengal, the students protested against the partition and British goods.2 In 1905, the students of King Edward Medical College Lahore also participated in the strikes against discriminatory laws. The participation of the students in politics before partition can be discussed in two phases. The first phase commenced from 1857 and continued till...

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