LUMS faculty member Dr Taimur Rehman calls it violation of academic freedom
The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) on Wednesday was reportedly forced to cancel a scheduled talk on Thursday evening featuring Baloch human rights activist Mama Qadeer, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Abdul Qadeer Baloch, known as Mama Qadeer, is the founder of a group working for information on people who have “disappeared” during the long-running conflict between the government and Baloch separatist movements.
A talk, ‘Un-silencing Balochistan’ was scheduled at the university featuring guest speakers Mama Qadeer, activist Mohammed Ali Talpur, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Director IA Rehman, Secretary General Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VMPB) Farzana Majeed, Quaid-e-Azam University Professor Aasim Sajjad Akhtar and rights activist Sajjad Changezi. The talk was to be moderated by Daily Times Editor Rashid Rahman.
Talking to Pakistan Today, LUMS faculty member Dr Taimur Rehman said, “A delegation from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) visited LUMS in the evening and presented a letter calling for cancellation of the talks. They said that Balochistan is a sensitive issue and that the moot could be used to malign Pakistan,” said Dr Rehman, adding that the intelligence officials were firm in their directive.
“The talks were aimed at understanding the Balochistan issue and discussing ways on how to resolve the longstanding problems of the Baloch people. It was supposed to be an academic discussion, which was muzzled for no good reason.
“This is violation of academic freedom and a curb on freedom of speech. The Baloch also have a right to express their reservations, which would help us in reaching a logical solution to the issues facing the province,” he said.