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: February 15, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Pakistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 15, 2022, police used force against students protesting on the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir campus.

Students were protesting against the university’s decision to hold exams in-person, demanding that they offer the opportunity to take their exams online amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At one point during the protest, which appeared to have gathered dozens of students, police baton-charged protesters in an effort to disperse them. News 24 reported that some of the students returned to protest and threw stones at police officers. Dawn reported that as many as 50 students were detained and released that evening, while News 24 reported that “several students” were arrested.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence during an on-campus protest. While state authorities have a responsibility to ensure safety and security, they must exercise restraint and refrain from disproportionate responses and actions that endanger members of the campus community or that retaliate against or deter student expression. Students likewise are reminded to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly peacefully and responsibly.