PRESS RELEASE: “LOOKING BACK TO LOOK FORWARD”

KARACHI, Jan 6: Students traditionally observed January 8th as ‘Martyrs’ Day’ in memory of the students and passers-by killed by police firing on Jan 7, 1953, during the peaceful ‘Demands Day’ procession organised by Inter Collegiate Body (ICB) and Democratic Students Federation (DSF). The High School Students Federation (HSSF) also actively participated in this movement and some of those killed were high school students.

Their demands were education-related, including: revise the fee structure (make fees payable monthly instead of six-monthly), improve laboratory, library, and hostel facilities, build a proper University in Karachi (where none existed) and provide security of employment to graduates. The High School Students Federation also actively participated.
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ICB tour and meetings with students in other cities, Feb 1953 – report by M. Sarwar

Page from Students' Herald, March 9, 1953

Read below, text from the Students’ Herald, March 9, 1953, Convention Chairman Mohammad Sarwar’s account of the trip, including the efforts by the Jamat to disrupt their meetings and to discredit them.

[Note: an interesting story from the 1950s’ student movement, about how they contacted colleagues and supporters in other parts of the country in an age when communication was far slower and more expensive than it is now. Students around the country had rallied in support of their Karachi colleagues following the January movement when police firing killed several students and passers-by on Jan 7 and 8, 1953. Demonstrations in Lahore, Dacca, and other cities drew hundreds and thousands of students, according to the Students’ Herald). Encouraged by this overwhelming response, the Democratic Students Federation formed an Inter-Collegiate Body (ICB). An ICB delegation visited other cities to link up with other students and work towards the National Convention (eventually held in December 1953). Here is how they managed this `grand tour’ to Multan, Lyallpur, Peshawar, Pindi and Lahore:

The Principal of Nishtar Medical College, Multan had invited the Dow Medical College Principal Col. Malik to inaugurate a new hostel. Col. Malik nominated the President of the Dow Medical College Union, Mohammad Sarwar – something unheard of for a principal to do. He also agreed to let Sarwar use the ticket money to take three other students from the Inter-Collegiate Body (ICB), traveling by second-class train. At the Multan railway station, a somewhat taken-aback Nishtar Medical College Principal warmly received them with a welcome committee, garlands and all. The Karachi students used the trip to make contact with students at colleges in Multan, Lyallpur, Peshawar, Pindi and Lahore and form ICB units there]

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