Ammar Saif of TS4 got on the Thatta Bus around 4:30 p.m. at Quaidabad, embarking on what we may call the journey of his life. He very smartly insisted to the bus conductor that he be dropped off in front TIP, and promptly the conductor refused, ensuing in a stiff exchange of words.
Ammar Saif, feeling threatening that he’ll be whisked off to Gharo, called his friends at the TIP hostel to come and save the day. At 5 p.m., Mohammed Amir, Tahoor Mohammed, Bilal Saleem, Khawaja Hasam Qadir, and Bilal Mustafa went outside to wait for the bus. Within minutes, 16 students were gathered outside. Their intentions were unknown to the TIP security guards.
Our hostel students were quite used to forcing the Thatta Bus to stop in front of TIP. Just the Saturday before this incident, our students had gathered outside to stop the bus to ‘rescue’ Mohammad Amir of TS3. This week our gallant boys risked life and limb to force a speeding bus to come to a standstill ‘ either that or the Thatta Bus stopped of its own accord at 5:30.
At 5:45 the braver of the 16 involved were busily beating the two bus conductors (and possibly even a passenger), when they looked up and saw two Thatta busses approaching from Karachi, and two more from Thatta! Our brave boys literally s**t in their pants and took off running towards the sanctuary of the TIP hostel.
There were two guards manning the TIP gates, and 5 busloads of angry Sindhis were now marching in furious anger towards TIP. Two guards, a gate that doesn’t lock, and openings at the side of the gate large enough to let a man through weren’t enough to control the situation. The poor guards were attacked by the Sindhis, two busses entered TIP premises, and 20-25 Sindhis marched towards the boys hostel.
This all happened within seconds. The Sindhis were coming in, the busses were coming in, our two guards were being attacked, and our brave boys were bravely running at full speed. “Banda marnae ka daar tha,” commented one of our fearless boys.
Somehow the hostel guard got wind of the matter and he safely let our students into the hostel and locked the door behind him. He stood outside, alone, with a horde of now armed and angry Sindhis approaching with sticks, pipes, and rocks. The angry horde pelted the hostel, breaking a few windows. Somehow there were kind to the hostel guard, and didn’t injure him too badly.
Meanwhile, the guards at the main gate, in between holding off the angry mob, called Mohsin Raza, their department incharge. After numerous tries, they got through to his landline (his cell phone being out of order for some weeks). He told the guard to call Shoaib Arif, who told the guard to call Shakel Ahmad, who told him to call the Dean, who in turn again told him to contact Mohsin. The guard, sick of this charade, decided to take matters in his own hands. Not having contact information for any police stations, he called our Fauju Fertilizer neighbors to contact the Bin Qasim Police, where he found out that someone (possibly Mohsin) had already informed them. Two mobiles had been dispatched, one from Bin Qasim Police and another from Steel Town Police.
That was around 5:50 p.m. All eleven guards had come into action and calmed the Sindhis that the President will be shortly coming to settle the situation. The Sindhis also took their busses out of TIP premises, but they had blocked the road and there was a traffic jam extending for miles.
And where were the warden and the wardeness during all this? They had left TIP at 8:25 in the morning, and returned when everything was over at 6:50 p.m.
At 6:30 the Police SHO and DSP showed up, as well as the Thatta Bus Association Chairman, and the situation was under control, with the Chairman agreeing to come later to talk to our President to sort out the matter.
The next day a police mobile was prominently parked at the TIP gate to protect our students from any unexpected retaliation by the Sindhis. However, all those students involved had bravely packed their bags and gone home.
Currently, the way it stands, the Thatta Bus Association Chairman is trying to file a case against TIP and the students involved, claiming assault. TIP in turn has threatened that they shall retaliate with a trespassing and assault (beating guards, breaking windows) case. Contrary to rumors, no FIR has been issued.
It is expected that the involved students shall be issued warning letters and possibly evicted from the hostel. One wonders whether this assault is a more serious case than the infamous “Elfi Prank” which lead to the suspension of 5 students from giving their final exams.
The guards will also be probably issued warning letters for trying their best to protect our students.
What had instigated this in the first place? At a hostel meeting in Fall Semester 2004, some students complained to Shakeel Ahmed about the Thatta Bus not stopping at TIP. He recommended that students take matters into their own hands, aur phir wo kaise nahin rokae ga!.
The 16 students involved, in order of importance, are Ammar Saif, Amir Mohammed, Usman Sohail, Hassan Khalid, Ali Abdullah, Bilal Ghani, Tahoor Ahmed, Rao Zia, Amjad Rafique, Rizwan Younas, Bilal Saleem, Khawaja Hasam Qadir, Harris Dewan, Faizan Alvi, and Asif Khan.