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 01, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Peshawar | Various

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Pakistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 1, 2021, police fired tear gas and used batons against faculty and staff during a demonstration at the University of Peshawar (UOP).

Faculty and staff from multiple universities held a protest at UOP to demand the establishment of provincial higher education commissions, the revocation of a reduction in salaries for employees, an increased budget for higher education, and the removal of hikes in student fees. Police reportedly beat the protesters with batons and fired tear gas into the crowd, injuring several. Police also detained eight protestors for allegedly blocking the road.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of tear gas and other force in response to a nonviolent exercise of the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly — conduct that is protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Pakistan is a party. State authorities have an obligation to ensure the security of higher education communities and to refrain from violent or disproportionate actions in response to campus protests. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such actions undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.