KU cancels seminar on Baloch missing persons, faculty fights back


The University of Karachi (KU) has cancelled a seminar on missing persons from Balochistan; however, program organisers claim that the moot will be taking place as per schedule at the Arts Auditorium on May 6.

The seminar was being organised by ‘Teachers against War and Operations’. The session was meant to pay tribute to social and human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud keeping the prevailing varsity situation in view.

KU Senior Professor Dr Riaz Ahmed is helping organise the seminar and he believes that there is no stopping the session from happening. “The program was scheduled by a group, namely Teachers against War and Operations, and only faculty members of KU are members of this group,” Dr Riaz maintained.

As per details, the KU management has sent a letter to the organisers of the seminar and informed them that they would not be allowed to hold a discussion on any political and/or controversial topic.

“The varsity would not allow anyone to hold a program on the much politicized and controversial issue of missing persons of Balochistan, keeping the prevailing situation of the varsity in view,” KU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Qaiser said.

“The decision of the management has been conveyed to the organisers of the program,” the VC added.

However, Dr Riaz is adamant that the session take place. He believes that there is no stopping the discussion at this point. “The program on missing persons of Balochistan would be held as per schedule in the Arts Auditorium,” Dr Riaz said.

“It’s our academic and constitutional right to hold a discussion on any issue,” he added.

The seminar is scheduled to play out tomorrow is meant to support not only the Baloch people but also pay homage to Sabeen and her work as a human rights activist. Sabeen, who was the director of The Second Floor (T2F), was shot dead while she was driving home after organising a discussion on the Baloch missing persons last month.

KU’s version of the seminar is titled ‘Baloch Missing Persons — Role of State and Society’. If it takes place, it would be hosting Mama Qadeer, Mir Ali Talpur, S Akbar Zaidi, Mohammed Hanif, Nazish Brohi, Farzana Majeed and Dr Arfana Mallah as speakers.

Earlier, a seminar on the same subject was cancelled by the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).