IBA strongly condemns religious discrimination

Published: September 20, 2014
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IBA boasts a diverse student population, with students hailing from all social classes, religions and cities.

This article has been written to address the blog previously published on Express Tribune regarding IBA’s elections and how a specific act of religious discrimination was carried out by some students in the university against a Hindu student.

Though it is commendable of her to raise her voice against religious discrimination, I still think Ms Syeda Jaisha should have respected the privacy of the university she herself is a student of, the privacy every organisation deserves.

As a student of IBA, it should be my first and foremost priority to uphold the reputation of my institute and protect its dignity. A handful of students certainly do not represent the views of the majority, and one single incident – spurred on by the heat of the moment, but nevertheless, inexcusable – does not represent the general values and norms conformed to at IBA.

I would like to inform the author and the readers that this matter was immediately brought to the attention of the administration who was involved in election proceedings, including the dean, Dr Ishrat Husain, and Professor SM Saeed. This matter was, in fact, dealt with a week ago; right after the incident took place – before this blog was published.

IBA boasts a diverse student population, with students hailing from all social classes, religions and cities. We find both cultural and religious diversity in IBA. Students get an opportunity to interact with people belonging to all kinds of mind-sets. Coming from as far-flung and remote areas as Giglit Baltistan and Swat, IBA has a fair amount of representation of minorities and underprivileged students.

From Hindus to Parsis to Christians, everyone is accepted and welcomed at IBA. In my two years here, I have never witnessed the faculty or the students lambasting anyone’s personal religious beliefs. The non-Muslim students mingle comfortably with the Muslim students, and though in minority, non-Muslims are never shunned against nor are their beliefs ever rebuked at.

The unfortunate elections incident of September 10, 2014 was but an exception.

As a Muslim, I feel deeply ashamed of how some students behaved. There’s no doubt that they got carried away in all the hype of campaigning. However, this does not justify their outrageous behaviour.

Rightly so, IBA’s management promptly took disciplinary action against these students to show how IBA utterly condemns this despicable act, and to warn all the students that religious discrimination is absolutely intolerable and unacceptable at IBA.

The facts that were missing in the previous blog are these:

1. The number of students involved was very low. This paltry number does not represent the vast majority of IBA which found this act abhorrent, and consequently, decided to place their faith in that particular Hindu student by voting for him.

2. This Hindu student who was discriminated against won the post he was contesting for by a staggering number of 1019 votes. His opponent could only bag 875 votes.

Only in a university where religious discrimination is not practised could a Hindu candidate win by such a wide margin. The credentials of this student were sufficient for the rest of the students to vote for him. His religion did not colour the judgment of the 1019 students who ended up voting for him. Somehow, this little fact was not included in the previous blog.

In today’s day and age, religion is undoubtedly being used by people to advance their interests. A politician could appeal to a large crowd to support him by playing the ultimate trump card of religion; regardless of just how ‘religious’ that particular politician happens to be. This is indeed disheartening.

Sara Pirazada

Sara Pirzada

A BBA student at IBA. She tweets as @PirzadaSara (twitter.com/PirzadaSara).

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.