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A large number of students staged a demonstration outside the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) on Tuesday to protest against the Sindh government’s notification regarding the evacuation of the DUHS Boys’ Hostels.

“We are students who come from areas that have been deliberately deprived of development and thus good quality educational facilities,” said a resident of the DUHS Boys’ Hostel, Abdul Karim.

“We don’t have med schools in our areas but we come to Karachi to become future doctors. We are the future of this country, especially in the wake of the ongoing pandemic. Despite that, instead of encouraging us and supporting our education, the government is placing further hurdles in our education”

Students living in DUHS Boys’ Hostels have been protesting for weeks against the notification of the Sindh government that hands over their hostel buildings to the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IPMR). Historically, the university has been allocated three hostels, namely Hostel 1 (also known as Waris Shah Hostel), Hostel 2 and Haribai Pragji Karia (HPK) Hostel.

All three buildings were used for setting up IPMR and Institute of Medical Technology (IMT) while residents were provided accommodation in the Sindh Medical College (SMC) as SMC was affiliated with DUHS.

Then, in 2013, SMC was handed over to Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU). This meant that Dow students living in SMC housing were sent back to the HPK Hostel, which was in shambles – one student nearly lost his life once after a tier of the building caved in.

These events sparked protests naturally and Dow students were allocated three of the six floors of Hostel 2.

The other two buildings, Hostel 1 and HPK Hostel, which are still officially registered as DUHS Boys’ Hostels, remained occupied by the IPMR.The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Protocol states about medical institutions that “the College must have a boys’ hostel with the capacity to house at least 20% of the total male students’ strength”.

As is evident, the DUHS has been trampling the PMDC Protocol and left us with no option in this pandemic but to register our protest outside hostel premises against its illegal violations. So far, no action has been taken regarding any of our protests and campaigns.

Therefore, we are once again protesting today to demand our basic right to housing.Our demand is simple: immediate end to the illegal occupation of all three DUHS Boys’ Hostel buildings by IPMR with complete restoration and all basic facilities provided in accordance with the PMDC rules.

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