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: April 16, 2015

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Jinnah Medical and Dental College

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Pakistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 16, 2015, Professor Debra Lobo, an associate professor of community health science and the vice principal of Jinnah Medical and Dental College in Karachi, was shot by four gunmen on motorcycles, who had surrounded her car and fired at her as she traveled between her home and the college.  Professor Lobo survived the attack, but reportedly suffered bullet wounds to her face and one of her hands.

The investigation of the attack remains ongoing as of this report. While the gunmen have yet to be identified, pamphlets near the scene of the accident claimed that the attack was performed on behalf of ISIS.  The pamplets reportedly suggested that Professor Lobo was targeted because she is a United States citizen, and threatened future attacks against Americans.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the apparently targeted killing of a professor. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and freedom of expression in the region. State authorities have a responsibility to ensure the security of academic communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.


On Saturday, June 27, 2015, authorities arrested a suspect named Saad Aziz in connection with the attack on Professor Lobo.