Pandemic, violence, and state atrocities; these words perfectly sum up the first half of this year. Sadly these words are not new in our discourse. We have faced numerous such incidents of torture, disappearances and arrests. The online classes introduced by the government during the pandemic have amplified the deep fault lines in our education system. Students are demanding basic internet facilities and 70 percent reduction in tuition fees.
Students protested peacefully under different organizations such as Progressive Students Collective, Progressive Student Front, RSF, and Student Action Committee.
While Student protested in the street and exercised their constitutional right, provincial government in Baluchistan catered this with violence and arrests. Many students were arrested on the spot. News of the crackdown attracted widespread condemnation on social media. Among the arrested protestors is Muzammail Khan, convener of Student Action Committee which organized the Students Solidarity March, and Mahrang Baloch who has also been very vocal about student issues in Balochistan.
This is the first time the state has exploited its apparatuses to sustain its oppressive approach towards any kind of dissent. Despite the fear of arrests, many students showed up in the protest.
These protests are proof that the state is not dealing with indifferent youth, rather a resilient progressive community which will not risk its future over hollow promises by the government. This moment of history is indeed very difficult for all of us but our government doesn’t seem to either identify the problems or prioritize the essential needs of common citizens. Budget 2020 was enough to analyze where exactly these institutions are in terms of delivering services.