SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: December 17, 2013

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Khyber Medical College Peshawar

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Pakistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On Tuesday December 17. 2013 Misbah Syed, a first year medical student at Khyber Medical College, alleged that she had been harassed and violently attacked by one of her professors because she chose to wear a face veil to school.

Ms. Syed informed reporters that Dr. Rahim Bangash, one of her professors, specifically instructed her to remove her face veil before attending class the next day, and made humiliating and derogatory remarks about her practice. This gave rise to a heated argument, which allegedly culminated in the professor slapping and kicking the student. It was unclear from news reports whether there were any administrative complaints filed by the student against the professor. The next day, some students staged a demonstration in support of the student.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about on campus attacks against students in retaliation for their exercise of protected rights, such as freedom expression and freedom of religion, on campus.  Such attacks harm not only the direct victim, but undermine exert a chilling effect on academic freedom overall.