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Letter from Concerned Faculty Regarding Academic Freedom and Increased Repression on University Campuses in Pakistan

20 April

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As faculty members and teachers, we are extremely concerned about the events that have taken place over the last few days at universities across Pakistan, which signal a closure of intellectual space within the country. Between April 12th and 13th four separate but related instances of repression took place on university campuses in different parts of the country.

In the first instance, an event entitled ‘Ethnic Rights, New Social Movements, and the State of the Federation in Pakistan,’ which was supposed to be held at Habib University in Karachi on April 13th was forcibly cancelled only an hour before the event was due to be held after a visit from state functionaries. This event was intended as a teach-in and panel discussion in which various new social movements emerging across the country would be analyzed and discussed by experts from the field. Not only was the event abruptly cancelled, one of the guest speakers was forced off campus by the university security despite the fact that it was the university that had invited him in the first place.

In the second instance, an event that was planned to be held at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, also on April 13th, which was a commemoration of the student who was brutally murdered by a mob one year ago at Abdul Wali Khan University, Mashal Khan, was also forcibly cancelled on the same day the event was due to be held. This event was planned in order for students to come together and mourn the loss of a fellow student who dedicated his short life to raising his voice in the struggle for peace and justice.

In the third instance, a colleague who was working as an Assistant Professor at Punjab University in the Department of Sociology, Dr. Ammar Ali Jan, was suddenly fired with no official reason given by the university administration. Dr. Jan, who received his PhD from Cambridge University, had been working tirelessly alongside students since July 2017 despite not having received any pay in order to promote the idea of non-violence and critical thinking. His abrupt dismissal was both disrespectful and humiliating and raises serious concerns about the treatment of faculty members at all universities.

Finally, in the fourth instance, faculty and administration at Gomal University in DI Khan were paid a visit by state functionaries and questioned about the content of their courses. The faculty and administration were given a warning to not teach subjects that would encourage critical thinking amongst the students. This direct intervention on a university campus by state authorities, which is an attempt to stifle critical thought and hamper learning, is extremely troubling to say the least.

All four events are part of a wider trend that stifles critical thinking and discussion on university campuses. As faculty members, we believe the university must be a space where faculty and students are free to share ideas and engage in thoughtful analysis of pressing social issues without experiencing fear or intimidation. The function of the university is to foster an atmosphere in which ideas are respectfully shared and rigorous research and analysis is encouraged. It is only through open discussion and debate that our most pressing social and political problems will be properly understood and diagnosed. The future of our country rests on how well we train our students as thinkers and analysts. It is for these reasons that the events of recent days are so troubling. As faculty members we strongly condemn the intimidation and repression taking place in universities at the moment, and we urge the relevant authorities to take action against those responsible and to ensure that our universities remain free from outside interference in the future.

1. Nida Kirmani, Associate Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
2. Sarah Suhail, Visiting Faculty, Lahore School of Economics
3. Hassan Javid, Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
4. Anushay Malik, Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
5. Faiza Mushtaq, Assistant Professor, IBA Karachi
6. Arsalan Khan, Assistant Professor, Union College
7. Hammal Aslam, Assistant Professor, BUITEMS, Quetta
8. Tania Saeed, Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
9. Afiya Zia, Sessional Lecturer, University of Toronto, Canada.
10. Sanaa Alimia, Research Fellow, Leibniz Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin; Visiting and Associated Faculty, University of Peshawar
11. Amen Jaffer, Assistant Professor, LUMS
12. Adnan Khan, Assistant professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
13. Mahvish Ahmad, PhD Candidate, Cambridge University
14. Iftikhar Dadi, Associate Professor, Cornell University
15. Gwendolyn Kirk, Associate Lecturer, University of Wisconsin-Madison
16. Ali Raza, Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
17. Imdad Hussain, Assistant Professor, Forman Christian College University, Lahore
18. Omar Kasmani, Post-doctoral Research Associate, Free University of Berlin, Germany
19. Babar A. Qureshi, Visiting Faculty, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
20. Aimen Bucha, Lecturer, Beaconhouse National University
21. Waqas H. Butt, PhD Candidate, University of California, San Diego, USA
22. Sarah Eleazar, visiting faculty, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore
23. Shayan Rajani, PhD Candidate, Tufts University
24. Qalandar Bux Memon, Assistant Professor, Forman Christian College, Lahore
25. Ameem Lutfi, Global Studies Fellow, Duke University.
26. Tabitha Spence, Teaching and Research Fellow, Lahore School of Economics
27. Muhammad Azeem, Assistant Professor, LUMS
28. Sara Shroff, PhD. Candidate, New School
29. Noaman G. Ali, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto
30. Shozab Raza, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto
31. Alia Amirali, Lecturer, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad
32. Tooba Syed, Lecturer, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad
33. Amina Jamal, Associate Professor, Ryerson University, Toronto
34. Barbara Heron, Professor, York University, Toronto
35. Shehnoor Khurram, PhD candidate, York University, Toronto, Canada.
36. Marvi Shaikh, lecturer, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
37. Shafqat Ali Kadri, Associate professor, University of Sindh, Jamshoro
38. Dr Taimur Rahman, Assistant Professor, LUMS
39. Sadaf Aziz, Assistant Professor, LUMS
40. Elleni Zeleke, Assistant Professor, Whitman College
41. Azzah Ahmed, PhD Candidate, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
42. Alissa Trotz, Associate Professor, University of Toronto
43. Hafeez Jamali, Assistant Professor, Habib University
44. Riaz Ahmed, Associate Professor and Chair Applied Chemistry, Karachi University
45. Fawad Khan, Adjunct Faculty at the National Academy of Performing Arts, Karachi
46. Ayyaz Mallick, Visiting Researcher, Habib University
47. Nosheen Ali, Assistant Professor, AKU-IED
48. Shahana Rajani, Visiting Faculty, IBA Karachi
49. Nadir Cheema, SOAS London University & Bloomsbury Pakistan
50. Tayyaba Jiwani, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto
51. Zahra Malkani, Lecturer, Habib University
52. Ayaz Qureshi, Lecturer, University of Edinburgh
53. Abdul Aijaz, GC University, Lahore
54. Nausheen H Anwar, Associate Professor City & Regional Planning, SSLA, IBA
55. Fahd Ali, Assistant Professor, Habib University
56. Ali Usman Qasmi, Associate Professor, History, Lahore University of Management Sciences
57. Nousheen Zaidi, Associate Professor, Punjab University.
58. Noman Baig, Assistant Professor, Habib University
59. Zainab Moulvi, Lecturer, Beaconhouse National University
60. Raheem ul Haque, Research Fellow, FC College
61. Aasim Sajjad, Associate Professor, Quaid-i-Azam University
62. Khurram Husain, Visiting Faculty, Habib University
63. Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
64. Amar Sindhu, Lecturer, University of Sindh, Jamshoro
65. Marvi Shaikh, Lecturer, University of Sindh, Jamshoro
66. Shafqat Ali Kadri, Assistant Professor, University of Sindh, Jamshoro
67. Navtej Purewal, Reader, SOAS University of London
68. Shan Aman-Rana, PhD student, London School of Economics.
69. Hiba Akbar, Lecturer, University of Management and Technology, Lahore.
70. Hajra Cheema, Lecturer, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Lahore
71. Kamil Ahsan, PhD Candidate, University of Chicago
72. Kristin Plys, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
73. Aima Yusaf, Assistant Professor, Lahore College for Women University
74. Emad Ansari, Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
75. Faiz Younas, Lecturer, Punjab University, Lahore
76. Maryam Wasif Khan, Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
77. Seerat Fatima, MPhil Scholar, Trinity College Dublin
78. Kai Hebel, Assistant Professor, Leiden University, Leiden/Netherlands
79. Haya Fatima Iqbal, Visiting Faculty, Habib University
80. Rahma Muhammad Mian, Lecturer, Habib University
81. Gulnaz Anjum, Assistant Professor, Institute of Business Administration, Karachi
82. Sameen Ali, Teaching Fellow, Lahore University of Management Sciences
83. Azhar Imran, Lecturer, Forman Christian College University and Visiting Faculty, PU.
84. Dr. Jody L. Kerchner, Professor of Music Education, Oberlin College & Conservatory of Music.
85. Shama Dossa, Associate Professor, Habib University
86. Aima Khosa, visiting faculty, Beaconhouse National University
87. Amelie Blom, Adjunct Faculty, Sciences Po, INALCO, Paris
88. Nudrat Kamal, Lecturer, Habib University
89. Shabana Nisar, Visiting Research Scholar, Harvard University, USA
90. Sardar Hussain, Lecturer in Philosophy, Punjab Higher Education Deptt.
91. Maughn Gregory, Professor of Educational Foundations, Montclair State University
92. Virinder Kalra, Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick
93. Khola Cheema, Senior Lecturer in History, University of Lahore.
94. Neelam Hussain Asst Prof (rtc) English Literature, Kinnaird College Lahore
95. Gulraiz Khan, Lecturer, Habib University Karachi
96. Bilal Tanweer, Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
97. Kaveri Qureshi, Research Associate, Oxford University
98. Alexis Saba, Associate Instructor, PhD Candidate, Indiana University
99. Richard Sandbrook, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto
100. Gregory Albo, Associate Professor, York University
101. Nighat Dad, Affiliate, Berkman Klien Centre of Internet and Society, Harvard University
102. Chris Moffat, Lecturer in History, Queen Mary University of London
103. Aisha Ahmad, Adjunct Faculty LUMS, PhD Candidate University of Oxford
104. Abdullah Qureshi, Doctoral Candidate, Aalto University
105. Aftab Alam, Assistant Professor, University of Delhi
106. Anindya Raychaudhuri, Lecturer in English, University of St Andrews
107. Umair Bilal, Lecturer, Habib University
108. Sobia Ahmad Kaker, Lecturer in Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London
109. Ziaullah Hamdard, Lecturer, Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan
110. Areesha Banglani, Visiting Faculty, IBA, Karachi
111. Ramsha Ashraf, Faculty Foundation University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
112. Sarwat Viqar, Faculty, Department of Humanities, John Abbott College, Canada
113. Faizullah Jan, Associate Professor, University of Peshawar
114. Rosita Armytage, Research Fellow, Durham University
115. Emma Varley, Associate Professor, Brandon University
116. Saadia Toor, Associate Professor, City University of New York
117. Nauman Naqvi, Assistant Professor, Habib University
118. Salman Haider, Lecturer, Fatima Jinnah Women’s University
119. Sara Humayun, Assistant Professor, Habib University
120. Kiran Ahmed, Assistant Professor, Quaid-i-Azam University
121. Sohail Bawani, Senior Instructor, Agha Khan University
122. Alyzay Sultan, Teaching Fellow, Lahore University of Management Sciences
123. Salman Hussain, Doctoral Student, University of Michigan
124. Bérénice Guyot-Réchard, Lecturer, King’s College, London
125. Rishad Mahmood, Visiting Faculty, Institute of Business Management, Karachi
126. Sara Baig, Associate Lecturer, Fatima Jinnah Women University
127. Cara Cilano, Professor and Chair, Michigan State University
128. Noor Habib, Teaching Associate, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
129. Furrukh Khan, Associate Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
130. Raza Rumi, Visiting Faculty, Cornell Institute for Public Affairs
131. Zafar Ullah, Assistant Professor, BUITEMS, Quetta
132. Tabinda Khan, Postdoctoral Fellow, Lahore University of Management Sciences
133. Sara Haq, Doctoral Candidate, University of Maryland
134. HM Naqvi, Visiting Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
135. Aftab Nasir, PhD Scholar, Bonn University/Visiting Lecturer, Forman Christian College
136. Zoha Waseem, PhD candidate, King’s College, London
137. Yasser Kureshi, PhD candidate, Brandeis University
138. Paul Rollier, Associate Professor, University of Oslo
139. Akmal Khan Kakar, Lecturer, BUITEMS, Quetta
140. Nida Wahid, Associate Faculty, Center of Biomedical Ethics and Culture, SIUT, Karachi
141. Hashim Kaleem, Teaching Fellow, Lahore University of Management Sciences
142. Maham Javaid, Teaching Fellow, Lahore University of Management Sciences
143. Rubina Jasani, Lecturer, University of Manchester
144. Sara Mahmood, Senior Research Analyst, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore
145. Musa Jadoon, Assistant Professor, COMSATS Institute of Information and Technology
146. Rabia Malik, Post-Doctoral Researcher, NYU Abu Dhabi
147. Irfan Khan, Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
148. Abira Ashfaq, Faculty, Szabist Law School
149. Fazal Rizvi, Visiting Lecturer, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture
150. Maryam Siddiq, Research Associate, Heriot Watt University, UK
151. Anwar Ali Arqam, Visiting Faculty, Habib University
152. Sidra Kamran, PhD Candidate, The New School, New York
153. Andaleeb Rizvi, Visiting Faculty, University of Karachi
154. Junaid Babar Lecturer at NIPS, Quaid-i-Azam University
155. Mariam Durrani, Assistant Professor, Hamilton College
156. Kyla Pasha, PhD Candidate, Arizona State University
157. Abeer Pervaiz, PhD Researcher, Free University of Bolzano, Italy
158. Sadia Bajwa, Doctoral Candidate, Humboldt University, Berlin
159. Naimatullah Hashmi, Professor, PMAS Arid Agriculture University
160. Syed Rashid Ali, Associate Professor, PMAS Arid Agriculture University
161. Tara Weinberg, Doctoral Student, University of Michigan
162. Umair Javed, PhD Candidate, London School of Economics
163. Ali Nobil Ahmad, Fellow, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin
164. Palvashay Sethi, Lecturer, IBA, Karachi
165. Nasir Ahmad, Associate Professor, UET, Peshawar
166. Ammar Rashid, Visiting Faculty, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad
167. Naseeba Umar, Visiting Faculty, Forman Christian College, Lahore
168. Abdoumaliq Simone, Research Professor, Max Planck Institute, Gottingen
169. Madiha Tahir, PhD Candidate, Columbia University, New York
170. Asma Abbas, Associate Professor, Bard College at Simon’s Rock
171. Ali Sajjad, Lecturer, IPE Roots IVY Flagship Campus, Faisalabad
172. Ijaz Khan, Professor (Retd), University of Peshawar
173. Farwa Fatima, PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania
174. Aqil Shah, Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma
175. Zain Naqvi, Visiting Faculty, SVAD-BNU, Lahore
176. Laurence Gautier, Assistant Professor, O.P. Jindal Global University
177. Cynthia Wright, Assistant Professor, York University
178. Lily House-Peters, Assistant Professor, California State University, Long Beach
179. Dereka Rushbrook, Associate Professor, University of Arizona
180. Monica Stephens, Assistant Professor, University of Buffalo (SUNY)
181. Jamie McEvoy, Assistant Professor, Montana State University
182. Asma Khalid, Assistant Professor, Lahore School of Economics
183. Ashveer Pal Singh, PhD candidate, Stanford University
184. Zebunissa Burki, Visiting Faculty, Agha Khan University
185. Khalid Mahmood, Director, Labour Education Foundation
186. Arif Naveed, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge
187. Samina Afridi, Lecturer, University of Peshawar
188. Ejaz Malik, Advisor Department of Architecture and Design, COMSATS (CIIT), Lahore
189. M. Zeeshan Zaheer, Assistant Professor, COMSATS (CIIT), Lahore
190. Musa Jadoon, Assistant Professor, COMSATS (CIIT), Lahore
191. Maira Khan, Assistant Professor, COMSATS (CIIT), Lahore
192. Sara K. Cheema, Assistant Professor, COMSATS (CIIT), Lahore
193. Zain-ul-Abidin, Assistant Professor, COMSATS (CIIT), Lahore
194. Nada Raza, PhD Candidate, Courtauld Institute of Art, London
195. Shandana Khan Mohmand, Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
196. Sara Kazmi, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge
197. Anushka Rustomji Musa, Visiting Faculty, Beaconhouse National University
198. Alexander Parks, Assistant Professor, Lincoln Memorial University
199. Faiza Haswary, Adjunct Faculty, SM Law College and SZABUL, Karachi
200. Lian Jenvey, Sessional Academic, Murdoch University, Australia
201. Zahra Shah, Visiting Faculty, Government College University
202. Dan Swain, Assistant Professor, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague
203. Faris Khan, Assistant Professor, State University of New York, Potsdam
204. Framji Minwalla, Independent Scholar, Karachi
205. Bina Sarwar, Independent Scholar, Boston
206. Yaminay Chaudhri, Artist, The Tentative Collective, Karachi
207. Neelofer Qadir, PhD Candidate, University of Massachusetts Amherst
208. Massimo Ramaioli, Assistant Professor, Habib University, Karachi
209. Ammar Aziz, Visiting Faculty, National College of the Arts, Lahore
210. Waqar Saleem, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, Habib University, Karachi
211. Reshma Parveen, doctoral candidate The University of Queensland, Australia
212. Shenila Khoja-Moolji, Visiting Scholar, University of Pennsylvania
213. Junaid Akhtar, Assistant Professor, Namal College, Mianwali
214. Haider Ali Shishmahal, Head of Department, The Millennium University College, Islamabad
215. Sadaf Jaffer, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Princeton University
216. Naveen Minai, Assistant Professor, IBA, Karachi
217. Benjamin Bruce, Professor-Researcher, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Monterrey, Mexico
218. Sanval Nasim, Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
219. Majed Akhtar, Lecturer, King’s College, London
220. Abdul Wasay, PhD Candidate Harvard University
221. Sahar Shafqat, Professor, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
222. Nida Rehman, PhD Candidate, Cambridge University
223. Hamid Hassan, Assistant Professor, Nishtar Medical University, Multan
224. Zehra Hashmi, PhD Candidate, University of Michigan
225. Usama Khilji, Visiting faculty, NUST, Islamabad
226. Kamal Munir, Reader, Cambridge University
227. Isabel Huacuja Alonso, Assistant Professor, California State University
228. Rabia Zafar, PhD Candidate, Tufts University, Boston
229. Sana Waheed, PhD Candidate, Imperial College, London
230. Nadine Zubair, PhD Candidate, University of East Anglia
231. Ayesha Jalal, Professor, Tufts University, Boston
232. David Gilmartin, Professor, North Carolina State University
233. Simon Sleight, Senior Lecturer in History, King’s College London
234. Azam Mehboob, Assistant Professor, Abasyn University Islamabad Campus
235. Hashim Bin Rashid, PhD candidate, SOAS
236. Jessie Speer, PhD Candidate, Syracuse University
237. Angela Seidler, graduate student, University of South Carolina
238. Nick Evans, University of Cambridge
239. Clément Mouhot, University of Cambridge
240. Njoki Wamai, University of Cambridge
241. Gareth Dale, Brunel University, London
242. Liam B Ward, RMIT University, Australia
243. Raymond Evans, Griffith University, Australia
244. Kaye Broadbent, UTS, Australia
245. Peter Hill, University of Oxford
246. Iftikhar Malik, Bath Spa University
247. Colin Barker, Manchester Metropolitan University
248. Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee, Warwick University
249. Tithi Bhattacharya, Purdue University, USA
250. Parvathi Raman, SOAS
251. Janet Geary ex- London Metropolitan University (retired)
252. Diane Fieldes, Sydney, Australia (retired)
253. Jonathan Neale, Senior Lecturer, Bath Spa University (retired)
254. Nancy Lindisfarne, Senior Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (retired)
255. Bob Carter, Emeritus Professor, University of Leicester
256. Bill Dunn, Associate Professor, University of Sydney
257. Rick Kuhn, honorary associate professor, Australian National University
258. Nick Riemer, Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney
259. Snehal Shingavi, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin
260. Katherine Sammler, Assistant Professor, California State Maritime
261. Maria Bastos Phd Candidate, University of Westminster, UK