A violent clash involving exchange of fire between two groups of students had taken place at Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) on May 20, 2017. As many as 30 people were injured and the campus remained closed for three days. The cause of the clash was reportedly traced back to a recent excursion trip. In 2003, a similar clash between two student groups had claimed the life of a student. There are six student councils at QAU, though none of them has legal recognition. Each council identifies with an ethnic group or region – Punjab, Pakhtun, Mehran, Saraiki, Baloch and Gilgit-Baltistan. The joint body of these six councils is called Quaidian Student Federation (QSF). The councils draw their strength from their hold over university hostels where they are de facto warlords. They rarely surrender to the de jure authority. Even if they are unwilling, the new comers have to join hands with the councils and their warlords. Student councils draw strength from their hold over hostels where they are de facto warlords. They rarely surrender to the de jure authority In QAU, students are admitted on the basis of merit as well as regional quotas. The policy to admit students on the basis of quota is meant to serve as an integrating factor for the nation as it lets youth from remote areas to study at the best university of the country. However, predators present in the system and backed by small ethnic political parties lay hands on this youth to gain influence, and to fan provincialism at the cost of the job of predators becomes easier nationalism. The job of predators becomes easier in the absence of legitimate platforms to channelise students’ potential. The latter are provide access to arms, money and patronage through council memberships. Young students are assets and future of our society. At this age, they are prone to be emotional. All natural instincts of body and spirit are at peak at such an age. The natural instinct of love, hate, anger, sympathy, passion and identity demands a place and means for expression. Students look for opportunities where they could channelise these emotions positively. If the society fails to tell them who they should love and hate, show sympathy towards and identify themselves with, then they will find their own ways or follow whatever comes their way. Having limited exposure and in search of an identity, if a student from rural Sindh feels sympathy with another student from the area – there is nothing wrong in it until this feeling of sympathy for a student from one’s region triggers hatred towards those from another provinces. But, whose responsibility is it to teach students from all over the country to love one another, instead of hating? Whose responsibility is to teach them that the entire student body cannot be from one area? That all students can never speak the same language? That our country is made of many provinces, but we have a common identity too? To make them connect with their fellows on the basis of a common nationhood? That how much blood was shed for making this country and they can protect it only if they remain untied? Ultimately, who has to teach our youth secrets of success of an Islamic society – pluralism, social justice, and the principle of living and letting others live? A two-pronged strategy may work in this regard. First, we’ll need a carpet cleansing of those facilitating this business of arms and hatred within the university system. Secondly, and more importantly, we will have to build mechanisms and spaces where youth can find an expression of their talent beyond the classroom and the library. Here comes the role of building leadership, active citizenship, and initiative through student bodies, under the mentorship of able faculty. Examples can be learnt from other universities in Pakistan and overseas where such student bodies are involved in curricular and extracurricular activities. These bodies elect their leadership through polls featuring lobbying and speeches based on manifestoes. Thus, all students get opportunities to excel, shine and gain experience of politics. Students can also nourish their latent potentials by identifying themselves with a range of activities such as sports, speech, drama, seminars, fund raising events, and social causes such as blood donation or cancer awareness campaigns. To attain the ideals of unity, faith and discipline given by the great Quaid – who’s title has given the university its name – we must foster these student bodies under a code of conduct sooner than later. This will also be a contribution towards the much needed nation-building. The writer is a development academic and practitioner based in Islamabad. He is also an ex-graduate of the QAU. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr Anwar Shah is faculty member at the School of Economics at QAU and can be reached at anwar qau.edu.pk“. As he is serving member of the QAU faculty. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent any of their affiliated organisation.