On Monday, Karachi University cancelled the admission of a certain Araib Khan and prohibited a former student named Abdullah Rizwan Sheikh from entering the university premises. Reportedly, the two students have also been barred from pursuing any course or degree from the esteemed institute. For what reason, you might ask. Well, it’s really simple and complex at the same time. Araib and Rizwan had invited disgraced Pakistani supermodel Ayyan Ali at the Public Administration department as Chief Guest, at a fast food venture they intended to pursue.
Why did Karachi University’s administration resort to such drastic, draconian and unreasonable measures, is beyond me. For one, the university has claimed (through its spokesperson Mr Farooq) that it rusticated Araib Khan as he had failed to provide a satisfactory reply to a notice that had been issued to Araib, following Ayyan’s visit. This notice must have been in response to the scathing criticism that UoK had received on social media. Must we retaliate and base our decisions or actions solely on the basis on what is ‘morally acceptable’ to social media?
For the life of me, I cannot understand how the saga could have taken place without consent of the University’s high-ups or prior knowledge of the department of Public Administration. Araib had previously also stated that he had invited Ayyan after securing permission from the Public Administration department. In my humble opinion, Araib and Rizwan are but scapegoats, to frantically pass the buck somewhere other than the influential of the university. If you’re telling me a beleaguered model can romp her way into a renowned university such as KU any day of the week with her armed guards, deliver a lecture before scampering away and the university administration was clueless? Ineptitude is deserving of penance as well!
Karachi University’s seasoned teachers have also given their two cents on the whole issue and sided with their students wholly. Here’s what Dr Riaz Ahmed of the university’s Applied Chemistry department said: “What happened was unjust and unfortunate. The model hasn’t been convicted yet and even if she is, her presence did not cause any harm to the campus. There is something called academic freedom that universities enjoy all over the world and they sometimes invite speakers who are shunned by society.” Others also said that it was a highly unfair decision and targeted those who were most susceptible to take the fall, i.e. the students.
For what crime was this student punished? If my memory serves me correct, the supermodel had opted for the legal course and secured bail therefrom. If the courts think she has not committed any offence, then why must she harbour a tainted image? If Araib Khan decided to extend an invite to a public figure, who so happens to be innocent until proven guilty, what seems to be the cause for all the hullabaloo?
Araib Khan, a student of Karachi University, had partnered with an ex-student named Abdullah Rizwan Khan, to bring Ayyan to the campus. The alleged money launderer had been invited to give a lecture on entrepreneurship to budding students and give them a pat on their backs. My question is this; what’s so wrong about all of this? Why are we discouraging the art of freedom of speech and constricting our students’ right of freedom of speech? Must we choose our role models, heroes and ‘guests of honours’ as per the whims and desires of society?
Ayyan had been invited by Araib and Rizwan to inaugurate a fast food venture that they had embarked upon. Instead of the university doing their bit to compliment, commend and encourage their students to excel in entrepreneurship, they clamped down hard on their dreams and ambitions by rusticating one and barring the other from entering the premises. What message is the university sending, when it prohibits two students from securing any educational qualification, from any department related to itself?
Whether you choose to like model Ayyan or hate her for what she has ‘allegedly committed’, it’s wrong to make someone else the scapegoat. Some heads must roll, granted. But are we headed in the right direction? In a country where the law of the jungle operates most of the times, isn’t it pertinent for educational institutes to base their decisions on legal perspectives as opposed to mere perceptions?