On November 19, 2022, police clashed with students at the Government Islamia Science College, in Karachi, after police were sent to vacate the premises.
Police were ordered to vacate the grounds following an October 2022 Supreme Court ruling that the college was built on private property. The court’s bailiff and education department officials accompanied the authorities to communicate the decision.
While the officials were notifying college administrators, a group of students assembled and threw stones at the police. Police responded by firing tear gas and a water cannon at the students, and charging at students with batons, in an apparent effort to disperse the group.
Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT), a student group associated with the political party Jamaat-e-Islami, claimed at least five of their members were arrested by police during the incident. However, police denied the allegations stating that no students were detained.
College administrators reportedly refused to comply with the order to vacate because they had not received a hard copy of the decision from the court.
In December 2022, the Department of Education decided to relocate the college’s facilities.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of disproportionate force against students on campus. While police have a responsibility to maintain order, security, and safety, they must also exercise restraint and refrain from actions that may result in unnecessary harm. Likewise, while students have the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, they also have a responsibility to exercise those rights peacefully and responsibly.
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)