Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday took note of the country-wide students' protest and decided to "restore and enable student union after establishing a code of conduct and learning from the best practices in internationally renowned universities".
In a series of tweets, Khan reiterated reasons what had led to the ban on unions. He said that in Pakistan, student unions had become violent battlegrounds and destroyed the intellectual atmosphere on campuses.
Universities groom future leaders of the country & student unions form an integral part of this grooming. Unfortunately, in Pakistan universities' student unions became violent battlegrounds & completely destroyed the intellectual atmosphere on campuses.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 1, 2019
This comes as student organisations from across the country came together to organise marches in 40 cities. However, since Saturday student activist Alamgir Wazir, who gave a speech on the ban at the march, has reportedly been missing from the Punjab University in Lahore.
The ban on student unions in all colleges throughout the country (in Sindh, forming student unions was already made illegal in 1979) was imposed on 9 February 1984 by former President of Pakistan General Zia-ul-Haq. The measure was taken through a Martial Law order to curb the violence on campuses between Left and Right factions.
This ban was briefly lifted in 1988 by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, but the Supreme Court re-imposed the ban in 1993.