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: May 11, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Karachi

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Pakistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On May 11, 2022, two Baloch students from the University of Karachi were reportedly forcibly disappeared by Pakistani security forces.

In Karachi, Pakistani security forces reportedly arrested and disappeared two university students: Irfan Rasheed, a student in biochemistry, and Qambar Saleem, a student in agriculture. They were in separate parts of the city when they were taken into custody. ANI News reported that these individuals “were picked up unlawfully.” It does not appear that any further information has been reported about their whereabouts or reason for arrest.

According to a report by RTV Online, thousands of Baloch individuals have been disappeared by Pakistani authorities since the early 2000s, with one of the most targeted groups being students. The outlet states that from January to May 2022, 48 Baloch students were disappeared and that the number of disappearances spiked following the April 2022 suicide bombing at the University of Karachi.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the enforced disappearance of students. While state security forces have a responsibility to maintain security and safety, they must also respect international human rights standards, including by refraining from discriminatory actions against students based on their identities. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, the disappearance of students undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.