A varsity sans social responsibility

ISLAMABAD: For a university with campus across the country, there should not be a question of social responsibility and civic education. And if there is one, something terrible must have infected its administration.Though located on the main Park Road, the COMSATS University has rather chosen a backdoor entry for its fleet of buses, other transport for faculty and students. The unusual and illegal parking spot, is located behind the residential complex of ISI officers and adjacent to PakTurk International School & Collegecatering from playgroup students to intermediate level.The sprawling campus in Chak Shahzad offers degrees from undergraduates up to doctoral candidates, totaling to 7,000 students enrolled in over a dozen disciplines. The photograph is only a minor reflection of the nuisance the students’ and private transporters erratic parking habits have caused for the entire locality.Around 300 to 600 motorcycles and over 100 vehicles, parked along either sides of the road outside the backdoor entry, spare a meager 11 feet space out of some 100 feet wide road for the school transportation to pass. Not only uncivilized parking habits of private transporters ferrying youth to the university and those of its impolite students are making the younger school students more vulnerable to accidents, but hawkers like ice cream sellers or mobile snack vendor also aggravate the situation further.For those commuting daily to drop off children to the school, scenes of scuffles and bad mouthing are usual occurrences followed by near-misses or actual collusions. Two security guards man the gate only to facilitate smooth passage of the university fleet and its faculty members.Even if a guard tries to instruct a private van driver or a pack of students blocking the traffic at peak hours, he only gets snubbed. The neighbors has not only learnt to live with the rowdy traffic and parking sense but Grafton College, an affiliate of NUML is following the ugly suit.Despite repeated calls, an SMS providing details for the version on cell numbers of Pro-Rector Dr Haroon Rashid and another senior official in the rector’s office Colonel (retd) Shahid Ansari failed to impress them to reply back with the institution’s version.An inspector of traffic police, requesting not to be named as he was not authorized to speak media, said the situation is alarming but there won’t be any remedy until an accident occurs and media turns its attention to the area.While the university should accommodate its ever-increasing parking needs of its students on vast empty spaces inside the campus, it must show social responsibility by mobilizing its youth to become a role model.The worst fear, however, is not a fatal accident occurring due to nasty parking practice of the university students or staff but exploitation of the opportunity by terrorists by planting a bomb in any random motorbike or car. Besides the COMSATS’ 7,000 students and hundreds of staff members themselves, 2,000 souls in PakTurk International School and College and hundreds of families in the adjacent residential complex of ISI can be likely victims if parking of random vehicles there is not moved inside the campus where it belongs.

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Aaj Kal