Bhais and bureaucracy: A look at real life at KU

Published: March 19, 2011

We know that student political parties should represent us but they make our lives harder.

Karachi University has often been called a microcosm of our country -there are violent displays of political hatred, bureaucracy and of course, the moral police.

One of the many political groups in our university is the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba Pakistan. Much like other religious groups in the country, students from this party enjoy guiding students to “righteousness.”

My friends and I hate it when the more extreme members of the party forbid us from sitting in “co-education” groups with our male friends or stop female students from riding bicycles to get around campus.

But we cannot deny that members of the same party come to our rescue if a girl is being harassed. They also prevent prohibited activities from taking place on campus.

On the other end of the student politics power spectrum is the All Pakistan Muttahida Student Organisation (APMSO). These are the cool guys; they like to party, dance, have fun and are certainly easier to befriend.

But, they are still the ‘bhais’.

“Dirty” activists we ask for favours

Neutral students proudly claim that they hate ‘dirty’ politics in the university.  But the fact is these neutral students are the ones that exploit political parties for their own purposes after condemning them.Their influence helps students a great deal. If the guards aren’t letting your car in, call an APMSO bhai and he’ll have it fixed. If the authorities aren’t letting you throw parties, they’ll handle it. And they’ll even arrange cricket tournaments for us.

I won’t hesitate to admit that I’ve called a bhai myself!

Learning to live with injustice

While I don’t belong to any political student wing, nor do I intend to, I do enjoy the vibe. This is because I believe these groups have an important influence in society.

At times, students find the presence of these parties truly irritating. Activists call off classes and exams at their own convenience and even beat teachers up if they do not listen to them.

We know that student political parties should represent us but sometimes they make our lives harder instead. We have learnt to live with this reality and perhaps it’s a good thing, because when we leave our mini Pakistan and step into the “real Pakistan”, we will face a similar situation.

Whether or not, these student “politicians” handle the country’s affairs in the future they must learn about using their power with responsibility.

I have no desire to wish away politics from the university; I just want students to be better than the leaders we complain about in the classrooms.


Ema Anis

The social media editor for the web desk at The Express Tribune. She tweets as @EmaAnis (

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