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Pakistan moves to restrict university activity

Pakistan’s higher education regulatory body has instructed universities not to engage in activities that go against government principles, in a move widely seen as an attempt to stifle academic debate.

In a memo issued to universities, the Higher Education Commission describes such activities as those challenging the “ideology and principles of Pakistan, or the perspectives of the government”, according to a report in the online edition of English language daily, Dawn.

The report says university representatives want the commission to withdraw the memo, on the basis that it will limit the capacity of institutions to educate students. “Universities are supposed to be places where students learn about history, politics, sociology and science in an open atmosphere,” the nuclear physicist and rights campaigner Pervez Hoodbhoy is quoted as saying.

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