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Activists condemned the cancellation of the talk however, the cause behind it could not be ascertained. Photo courtesy:
Activists condemned the cancellation of the talk however, the cause behind it could not be ascertained. Photo courtesy:

LAHORE: Students and activists took to social networking websites to condemn the decision by the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) to cancel a talk featuring Baloch human rights activist Mama Qadeer Baloch on Thursday.

Mama Qadeer Baloch, a sexagenarian activist, is known for highlighting cases of enforced disappearance of Baloch activists which rights groups accuse the military and intelligence agencies of kidnapping and killing.

The talk titled "Unsilencing Balochistan", a part of the series "Remapping Justice: On Human Rights in Pakistan" was scheduled for today at 6:30 pm at LUMS Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences (MGSHSS), according to a promotional poster.

Promotional poster by LUMS school of humanities and social sciences
Promotional poster by LUMS school of humanities and social sciences

A representative from the office of LUMS Vice Chancellor told that the university "would soon be issuing an official statement regarding cancellation of the talk" on their website.

Meanwhile, Dean of the Students Affairs Department at LUMS said that he was not in a position to give an official statement about the cancellation of the event.

Soon after the announcement the hashtag "#Shameonlums" started to trend on social networking site Twitter.

However, a Twitter user Fasi Zaka correctly pointed out that the hashtag was being used by activists to both criticise LUMS for cancelling the talk and for organising a talk they considered "anti-state".

A LUMS student said that students received an email from Associate Professor and Department Chair, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at LUMS Ali Khan announcing the cancellation of the talk.

The email said that the scheduled talk on Balochistan was "cancelled on the orders of the government".

The email further said: "LUMS is committed to working with the government to find a way to allow the university to hold conversations on topics that are sensitive but that need to be debated in an objective and unbiased manner".

Assistant Professor Humanities and Social Sciences at LUMS Dr Taimur Rahman told Pakistan Today that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) personnel had visited LUMS to present a letter calling for the cancellation of the talks.

Dr Rahman said he considered the decision a "violation of academic freedom and a curb on freedom of speech".

The talk was to feature Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) chairman Mama Qadeer, activist M. M. Ali Talpur, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Director I.A. Rehman, General Secretary Farzana Majeed, Quaid-e-Azam University professor and activist Aasim Sajjad and human rights activist Sajjad Changezi as guest speakers.

The talk was organised by Visiting Assistant Professor at LUMS Dr Anne Christine Habbard and was scheduled to be moderated by Daily Times Chief Editor Rashid Rahman.

Comments (44) Closed

Mr. Notorious Apr 09, 2015 02:37pm

I think LUMS should remain an independent body and ignore any sort of dictation from anyone. It seems Govt itself is some how involved.

akram Apr 09, 2015 02:38pm

No need to invite the foreign funded NGO's. Some of the time they represent foreign agendas.

Ali Apr 09, 2015 02:45pm

Lums canceled Asad Umar talk last year so it could be their administration's decision.

public Apr 09, 2015 02:59pm

LUMS must confine to its limits and not become a pawn of all antisocial programs. Why don't they do a sitting on Sardars Wadera culture where common people live the life of a slave?

khan NWFP Apr 09, 2015 03:03pm

Really sad, they need to give people the freedom to express their opinions, it's up to the audience weather they agree with it or not. Silencing them is gonna make the case worse for the establishment.

azhar abbas Apr 09, 2015 03:19pm

Shameful silence of government as will as media on the biggest part of Pakistan , what is going there no one knows, what is the situations of balouch peoples no one knows , Take the example of Lums that event government dont want general public to get know about Baluchistan......... Please stop this and work for balouch people.

IBN E ASHF AQUE Apr 09, 2015 03:40pm

LUMS has to survive in the Pakistani environment where hidden hands control the state. It is nice that LUMS invited a discussion on the issue but it appears the hidden hands behind the veil of democracy did not approve of it. Maybe this comment may not be published by Dawn after all they as an institution also have to survive in Pakistan.

Rizwan Apr 09, 2015 03:45pm

It's an Lums administrative decision.Further if the issue is of National interest the administration of LUMS can decide

the reluctant fundamentalist Apr 09, 2015 03:46pm

So who is next on LUMS list? Mullah Fazlullah?

Talha Apr 09, 2015 03:47pm

Well done government agencies. These separatists must be either jailed or asked to migrate to UK where their separatist leaders are living a luxurious life. LUMS shouldn't in any way give platform to these anti-state elements.

Moona Apr 09, 2015 04:12pm

Why was a foreigner organizing this talk?

Shakeel Apr 09, 2015 05:11pm

University campuses around the world are used to spread ideas and exchange information. You don't have to agree with all of the ideas, you shouldn't deny society the opportunity to engage with them.

Universties like Oxford actively seek out all sorts of speakers to come and share thier views on matters. It provides their students an opportunity to challenge or expand on the ideas presented to them. We shouldn't shun this.

Noor Apr 09, 2015 05:15pm

LUMS was much more open and free when i use to study there ... i can't get it .. we openly discusses existence of GOD in philosophy courses at LUMS but we can't discuss Balochistan and army role !!! pathetic

anees Apr 09, 2015 05:30pm

Why would a university of MANAGEMENT Sciences arrange it? How is it relevant?

Imran AB Apr 09, 2015 05:37pm

For God's sake someone has to listen to these citizens of Pakistan. They walked all the way to Islamabad from Baluchistan in a peaceful procession to be heard but were cowed down by the orders of the powers to be and never given a chance to present their grievances. Why don't the agencies tell them the whereabouts of the the loved ones of these families and eh reasons for their abductions .............. or so called detentions !!! What a shame ...........

Rashid Hussain Apr 09, 2015 05:47pm

Lums should not have cancelled the talk because if talk is not acceptable then what ?

Sajjad Apr 09, 2015 06:20pm

ahh those days when I wishws I could get into LUMS but I think now i feel lucky that I ended up in a public university and witnessed realities with understanding of tolerance. #ShameOnLUMS

khan Apr 09, 2015 06:30pm

What happened to freedom of speech in our constitution, if Mama Qadeer wants missing persons to be presented before a court then whats wrong in it. On the contrary if he shares any separatist ideas then he should be banned. But without giving him an opportunity to share his thoughts we are suppressing the rights of baloch people. Weapons and force never make a nation united

Balach Apr 09, 2015 06:41pm

Mama Qadeer baloch is a voice for 20 thousand missing baloch persons. Baloch people are secular more than all religious pakistan and want right on their own resources and coastal area. . For thousand years our ancestors had fought wars for this land now how can other pakistan capture resources and gawadar port in the name of development ?

pakshehri28 Apr 09, 2015 06:59pm

The decision to cancel this talk is certainly not a surprise to me. LUMS is Packages Ltd.'s arm of the so-called corporate social responsibility. Freedom of speech is used selectively at LUMS. As a faculty, I'd say that a number of faculty members themselves are quite insecure with the idea of freedom of expression. They are not very different from politicians who believe in maintaining the status quo. Thus, LUMS is not a purely academic institution, but tries hard to portray that it is.

ayan Apr 09, 2015 08:33pm

it is great. Why not you all living out of Baluchistan tries to come Quetta. Why u r not asking from those who left Quetta and other areas of Baluchistan even their forefathers died here....... Why not u ask others like Pashton, hazara ect. about why they are leaving balochistan. How much govt jobs they got. Why not you ask this mama Qadeer about his son's anti state activities and how many times baloch got their seats as a Governer and Chief Ministers VS non baloch. Specially why not u take these anti state activist in your province...............

You can not predict the depth of ocean, sitting out side.

azmat Apr 09, 2015 08:34pm

When LUMS cancelled Asad Umar's talk last year, none of these big mouthed NGOs dared open their mouths or no one raised the independence of institution issue. Having said that, I think the talk should have been allowed to take place

xulfjan Apr 09, 2015 08:35pm

@Talha what constitutes a state?? who is separating from whom? I thought this is the discourse one can sort out in a seat of LUMS. Otherwise it is as retrogressive and reactionary as a Taliban run madrassah .

IBN E ASHF AQUE Apr 09, 2015 08:53pm

@anees Relevant as management is all about managing conflicts and disagreements within a social context, and managing in a manner that groups can work together in spite of differences for mutual benefit. Every issue cannot be solved by a bullet and the gun. It needs some creative thinking and win-win outcomes for both parties.

Faisal Ayub Apr 09, 2015 09:02pm

I believe to having a dialogue is a sign of healthy and fair society, by cancelling such a talk it just shows in what sort of society we live in, which is neither Islamic nor democratic.

Why would LUMS care about missing people of Baluchistan!

Message on LUMS website"We believe that sustained hard work provides the underpinning for the socio-economic development of a nation."

Before working on "socio-economic development of a nation", how about working on your conscious?

Muradabadi Apr 09, 2015 09:18pm

Same Pinch!! Delhi university also treats Kashmiri separatists the same way. Its difficult to choose between Patriotism and Human rights.

Tkk Apr 09, 2015 09:25pm

I support Lums should not be part of any such activity which gives bad name to country institutions.No one in the world malign their own country institutions but this happened in my country at the behest of the enemies of this country.

Shabir Kashmiri Apr 09, 2015 09:33pm

The debate should have been allowed with the rule of no anti-pakistan speech nor any speech that eco the separtism or any word that is against the sovernity or territorial integrity of this great nation.

Oz Apr 09, 2015 09:43pm

A good decision by lums. It is their call so why give them flak? Why do we insisit on trying to get things done our way? Mama qadeer is a foreign funded guy and this is good that lums saw through him

Najam Apr 09, 2015 10:19pm

at whose behest, did Lums decided to cancel this event. Obviously, ISI!! We need to stand with Baloach people and help integrate them into society and this event was one such opportunity.

Ghaznavi Apr 09, 2015 10:22pm

There is no mystry surrounding the missing Baluchs. Those who joined the farrari camps are missing from homes and among these who get killed in fight with security forces or by Sardars are thown on streets in bags. That's all to it!

sana Apr 09, 2015 10:23pm

They should get involve in the things they can handle !

Nas Apr 09, 2015 10:27pm

What is the Link between Managment sciences and Mama Qadeer, the university is creating anarchy. Tomorrow their speaker could be Uzair Balooch or Mullah Omar. Those so called activist should be bared from events

Uzi Apr 09, 2015 10:32pm

@Talha What are you talking about? Is it that easy for the poor in Baluchistan to migrate to UK? What about their rights, the kidnapping and killing in the regime under Pervez Musharraf? Silencing a minority group because the state does not approve it, is perverse and authoritative. They have no right to do that.

The will of the Baluchis must be respected. Blindly following nationalism is decadence.

Dr.SOB Apr 09, 2015 10:34pm

Mama Qadeer, your record is not good in big brothers book.

Al habibi Apr 09, 2015 11:39pm

@Muradabadi delhi university held a symposium on kashmir this very year and some separatists attended it as well. No one stopped them. Better get your facts right before commenting.

Ali Kamal Apr 09, 2015 11:43pm

@akram and you have the proof to back your statement

Confused Apr 10, 2015 12:04am

Universities exist to challenge accepted norms. Whats the function of a university if you cannot hear the views of those that you would not listen otherwise? LUMS should take this case to the supreme court to decide whether Pakistan would be a free country or a country controlled by a secret police. Shame on Lums. Shame on the agencies.

Shahrukh Apr 10, 2015 12:21am

@anees LUMS has a huge social sciences and politics department as well as its own law school, school of science and engineering, a mathematics department and an economic department.

CYRUS Apr 10, 2015 01:24am

@azhar abbas

    If history is to judge kidnappings and disappearances won't stop.
Sh Apr 10, 2015 02:50am

@the reluctant fundamentalist Wow!! so you are comparing a unarmed civilian who looking for justice from the Pakistani courts and police with Mullah Fazlullah What a naive comment

Nzaar Apr 10, 2015 02:57am

@anees I'm not from lums, but a university is supposed to encourage thinking and research and broaden ones mind and horizons, not just to create brand managers for Lipton. So yes, it's relevant.

Of course, Lums doesn't just teach business mgmt, their humanities faculty and courses are probably the best in pakistan.

dailogue Apr 10, 2015 08:38am

university and colleges are the best place where educated and literate peoples live if these intelects, educated people were allowed to work for the best interest of the state the country could have never placed itself in this position it could have been developing by leaf on bound, but unfortunately the state machinarie have been hijacked by uncreatative thinking people, they never let the democratic institutions to deliver and highlight the problems where there failure would be in lagger public.

Asadullah Mengal Apr 10, 2015 10:30am

I am from Baluchistan and can say, there has been big progress in our province, in every way. But corruption and Indian support of terrorism has been a big problem. Missing persons, is result of cat and mouse game between the terrorists and the FC. We Baluch want corruption finished and foreign funded terrorism to end. After seeing the plight of Baluch in Iranian Baluchistan and Kashmiris in India, we are and will remain Pakistanis forever.