Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Imran Khan's government continues to muzzle academicians taking anti-govt stance

ANI | Updated: Jun 27, 2020 15:55 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], June 27 (ANI): Pakistan has always been in the news for committing gross human rights violations. Under the Imran Khan-led democratic government a number of universities have been forced to sack their professors who spoke or supported anti-government campaigns, reported the DW.
"After I participated in a student demonstration, the government registered a sedition case against me. The university administration, Lahore's Forman Christian College (FCC), told me to stay away from these activities and warned that they would take action against me if I didn't knuckle under," Ammar Ali Jan, a prominent Pakistani acamedician and activist against the military atrocities in Baluchistan, was quoted as saying to DW.
He said that the universities are being forced by the country's powerful military to sack the professors who take an anti-government stance.
According to the several Rights groups, the freedom of expression, especially the freedom of press, is regularly being strangulated with Prime Minister Imran Khan coming in power in August 2018. They say that the military has further consolidated its power under the present government.

Jan's stance has prompted several other academicians to come forward and speak against the curbs of academic freedom.
"In 2018, I was hired to teach politics at a local university in Lahore. After spending two semesters there, the management told me that my contract would not be extended. When I asked the head of department as to why I was being abruptly dismissed, he told me that the university had received complaints about my political views," Aima Khosa, an academic and rights activist, wrote on Twitter.
Similarly, Pervez Hoodbhoy, an internationally renowned physicist and a known voice against religious conservatism and militarisation of the state, was told by the FCC that his contract will not be renewed next year.
"That academic freedom has always been under threat in Pakistan is old news. What is somewhat new is the frequency with which lecturers, professors, researchers, students, and even writers feel threatened now in both private and public-sector universities. These threats are of multiple nature and presumably emanate from various quarters," DW quoted a June 26 editorial in The News International, a leading English-language newspaper in Pakistan.
However, these claims have been denied by both the government and the military. While Imran Khan has said that the press has full freedom of expression in the country, Aijaz Awan, a retired military officer and defense analyst, told DW: "The military has nothing to do with the contracts of these academics. If somebody has been sacked, it is likely due to the terms and conditions of their contract. They should not blame the military for everything." (ANI)