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Teachers, scholars protest renaming of QAU physics dept

Updated May 05, 2018

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Quaid-i-Azam University faculty members protest outside the National Press Club on Wednesday. — White Star
Quaid-i-Azam University faculty members protest outside the National Press Club on Wednesday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Former and current teachers at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) on Friday staged a protest against the National Assembly’s resolution for changing the name of the physics department at the university.

Noted scholars, including Pervez Hoodbhoy, A.H. Nayyar, Sarwar Bari and Dr Sajid Awan, protested against the resolution which was passed on Friday calling for naming the physics department after Muslim scientist Abu Al-Fath Abd-Al Rahman Mansour-al-Khazini.

The resolution, which was presented by MNA retired Capt Mohammad Safdar, calls for changing the name of the physics department and not of the Dr Abdus Salam Physics Centre, which are two separate entities.

Mr Safdar has been demanding over the last year for removing the name of Dr Abdus Salam from the centre, which has led to confusion among people who think Friday’s resolution was meant to change the name of the physics centre.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Nayyar said Dr Salam is the pride of Pakistan and that his work and contributions to the field of physics uphold Pakistan’s name across the globe.

Prof Hoodbhoy also criticised the government for its move and said Dr Salam is respected across the world and that there is also a centre named after him in Italy.

“Those trying to erase Dr Salam’s name will themselves be forgotten but [Dr Salam’s] name will be remembered by history,” he said.

“This [resolution] is political expediency and was taken to appease the religious vote bank. We condemn such acts of the government as Dr Salam is the pride of the country,” Mr Bari said.

The protesters demanded that the government take back the resolution.

The resolution was signed by representatives of various parties and read out by Capt Mohammad Safdar, who is the son-in-law of Nawaz Sharif.

In 2016, the then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, had approved renaming of the National Centre for Physics at Quaid-i-Azam University after physicist Dr Abdus Salam.

However, the National Centre for Physics was not properly given the name and the signboards have not been changed yet.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2018