> As our gigantic points neared the Sindh Governor House, for a new initiative which the governor has taken in which he invited students from various universities for a question and answer session. Anticipation grew amongst us regarding what we might find there. We got off the point, and escorted tot the security check, boys in one line, girls in the other. I passed through a metal scanner, then a lady scanned through my “jahez ka bag” (as Ammar calls it because its really big), and we were in.
When everyone was settled in their seats, an anxious man, probably in charge of the whole campaign ushered students who wanted to ask questions forward on the seating arrangement.
“Who wants to ask questions?”, he asked. Several hands shot up. “Okay, beta, yes you, what will you ask?”
The boy asked a sharp question about government’s role in getting aid to the flood victim. The campaign in charge cajoled the boy into not jumping right into a confrontation but better to start with a suggestion. He suggested another question instead. This went on for several other people. We sat quietly and watched as he decided who and what question, suggestion rather would go first.
We were served lunch by the regal servers adorned in white starched shalwar qameez and reg turbans and waist coats. And then made to wait…
We waited for two hours, and by the time every one’s eyes and minds were heavy with boredom and languor, the governor showed up. Our Vice Chancellor opened the session with his encouraging remarks about the students enthusiasm for volunteer work.
First two or three questions rolled off smoothly with the campaign coordinator pointing to people who were handed the microphone.
Fortunately for us, students from Mass Communication had a little more leverage. We waited fot the right time then, began to raise our hands up one by one.
First called upon was my Senior Ahsan Bhai. He eased some of our University officials and also the government ones by providing a few suggestions and aptly sugar coating them as he talked.
Next up was Hina Baji, Ahsan Bhai’s classmate. She began, “Sir I just want to let you know that we were given a briefing before you came here, in which we were told not to say or ask anything controversial”.
The campaign coordinator was flustered and so were a few teacher of ours who had come with us. The Governor, Dr. Ishrat ul Ibad, however, immediately responded that she, and everyone else in the room can ask whatever they pleased without any fear. The ice had been broken.
Out poured several “controversial” questions from, myself, another student of Political Science and some others,pertaining to illegal student politics in the university campus, armed rangers inside the university, and the “briefing”. While the governor was ready to listen and take down notes which he thought were relevant, he didn’t answer us one by one in person. He just listened.
When all the questions were done, Dr. Ibad began his remarks. He was very encouraging, and lauded the students’ efforts in volunteering for the aid of flood victims. He announced a volunteer education program to be piloted by the University of Karachi, including 150 000 students who will teach illiterates to read and write, for which they will get certificates and marks. He then talked about the youth of the country and some general issues faced by us all. We waited for the answer to our questions.
We kept waiting to hear the Governor of Sindh’s remarks on “controversial” topics, but waited in vain. We had the right to ask, and so we did. But he, had made his choice- not to answer.