LAHORE: The Punjab University administration has expelled 16 students, 12 affiliated with Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) and four with Pashtun and Baloch councils, in the first phase of disciplinary action following January 22 clashes on campus.Six others have been rusticated from their academic programmes for a year. In the second phase of disciplinary action underway now, notices have been served on 30 more students to appear before a committee formed by the vice chancellor to probe the matter.On January 22, clashes erupted between Pashtun and Baloch students and IJT activists over an event planned by the latter. Dozens of students, almost all of them from the councils, were subsequently arrested by the city police and charged with terrorism in a move widely condemned across the country. Political activists, academics and rights workers condemned the police for what they said appeared to be an ill-planned operation at university hostels that ended up targeting only Pashtuns and Balochs on campus. Terrorism charges were subsequently dropped and students released on bails.On the instructions of PU vice chancellor Dr Muhammad Zakria Zakar, a disciplinary committee consisting of senior professors was then formed to investigate the January 22 clash.January 22 clashes followed in the wake of a similar situation last year when an event planned by one of the councils was interrupted by IJT activistsThose expelled as a result of the investigation have been barred from seeking enrolment in any of the academic programmes of the university. The six rusticated will re-join their degree programmes after a year.Five others have been placed on a three-month probation with a fine Rs10,000 each.The disciplinary committee has banned the entry of all expelled and rusticated students at the university campus. Speaking to the media, the PU spokesman said on Saturday that some of the students had produced fabricated documents before the disciplinary committee to avoid action. However, he said, they were shown evidence of their involvement in the incident. Of all the 34 students whose involvement was probed in the first phase, he said only three were found innocent.“The committee has exercised extreme caution not to harm academic career of any student not involved in the incident. The administration has also provided students found involved in the clashes with an opportunity to file an appeal against the decision of the disciplinary committee within 15 days,” he said, adding that the administration was committed to have zero tolerate towards any pressure group.He warned that no one would be allowed to resort to unlawful activities on campus. Those who take the law in their own hands in view of the disciplinary committee’s probe will be dealt with in accordance with the law. The spokesman said that the administration was making all-out efforts to ensure peace, tranquility and rule of law on campus. He said that any effort to sabotage peaceful academic environment will be dealt with an iron hand and no leniency would be shown to any deviant student.Importantly, January 22 clashes followed in the wake of a similar situation last year when an event planned by one of the councils was interrupted by IJT activists who vandalised a camp set up for the event and beat up council members.Published in Daily Times, February 18th 2018.