Taking the fun out of a game of cricket

By Sidrah Roghay

KARACHI: It was a simple game of cricket—but it resulted in an all out brawl, which had to be contained by the Rangers, after three students were injured.

On Wednesday, at 8:00pm, students both girls and boys were playing a match near the gigantic Mahmud Hasan Library at Karachi University, when the moral police arrived.

The Islami Jamiat Talba clashed with the rival Punjab Student Federation boys. There was baton used. Rangers arrived, and picked two boys for further investigation. Three students were taken to the hospital. The match came to an ugly end.

The IJT maintains that they had no problem with girls playing cricket. “And that it was a small fight, blown out of proportion,”  according to their information secretary who was on his way to address a press conference on the issue.

But the question runs deeper. Why should a political party ‘guard morals’?

This is not the first time IJT activists have enforced their morals on students. Every semester they grease a particular platform near the sociology department to prevent young couples from sitting and intermingling.

In the past there have been instances when boys have been beaten to pulp for getting too close to their female friends.

Take for example Abbas*, a recent graduate from the university who had borrowed his father’s car to the university that day. It was drizzling, and he decided to drive around the campus with a girl he liked.

They stopped for fresh juice near the bus terminal, and in the 15 minutes, he recalls holding her hand for just a few seconds.

“Two boys looking at us came to our car [and said] ‘You cannot roam around the campus like this. Get out of this area before we feel the need to take action’,” Abbas says.

“I sped out of the campus. I did not want to be beaten up, that too in front of my girlfriend,” he laughed.

Their moral police does not remain contained to Karachi University only. Their tentacles spread wider.

On October 5, 2013, activists of the Islami Jamiat Talba barged into the Institute of Business Administration and demanded that the music at fun fair be turned off. When the students protested the activists vandalized the equipment and scared the student body.

The party activists have time and again defended their right to moral police. At the same time they deny using violence. “Our workers have never used violence,” said their information secretary.

But students who have graduated from the Karachi’s largest varsity know that they are lying through their teeth.