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: June 06, 2017

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):University of Agriculture Faisalabad

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Pakistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 6, 2017, the administration of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad expelled at least seven students for maintaining or commenting on a Facebook page critical of the university.

The university announced in separate statements that it had found Muhammad Isfandyar Javed, Zubair Iqbal, Ghulam Jelani, Ahsan Safdar, Mubashi Ali Hashmi, Umar Bilal, and Arbaz Hassan guilty of spreading undesirable comments against the university administration on social media, misleading and trapping the students community and defaming, damaging repute and bringing bad name to the university.” 

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the suspension of students in apparent retaliation for the peaceful exercise of the right to free expression, which is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine democratic society generally. University authorities have a responsibility to refrain from arbitrary expulsions and other disciplinary measures to restrict the right to freedom expression.