Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Petition to drop charges aganist Punjab University Faculty

Dear Colleagues:

As part of the crackdown on protests against emergency/martial law, theGovernment of Pakistan recently brought sedition charges against fourteen faculty members of the Punjab University (Lahore, Pakistan). These charges were in response to the faculty members speaking out and organizing a protest walk ontheir campus against the imposition of emergency rule (martial law) in Pakistan.The Government of Pakistan has also issued a ban on political discussions and debates on campuses, which is a violation of one of the most basic tenets ofacademic freedom.Most of you must by now be familiar with the vanguard role played by members ofthe Pakistani judiciary in the current political struggle against dictatorship. The unprecedented expression of solidarity by members of the international lawc ommunity has been extremely important in building up the pressure against thePakistani government, and in keeping up the spirits of the lawyers and their family members. Students (and educators) comprise the next largest group ofprotesters and so are being targeted in similarly illegal and brutal ways. This is a call to school and college/university faculty, academic unions and organizations to express their solidarity with the above mentioned faculty members of Punjab University as well as all those being targeted by the Pakistani state, and to demand that the government drop these charges immediately.It should be noted that even when emergency rule is lifted, these and other suchcharges will not be automatically dropped nor will the dissenting judges berestituted.

Please sign the petition and forward to others, and please consider creating faculty/student solidarity committees on your campus, and issuing separate letters of protest and solidarity. It is imperative at this stage toget as many signatures as possible, as well as to send as many letters/faxes/emails to the individuals and institutions listed below as possible. You can sign the petition at Time is of the essence, so please sign the petition and fax your letters ASAP.Your voice counts.Below are links to three related articles. If you have any questions please email

Shefali Chandra (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Lubna Chaudhry (SUNY, Binghampton)
Sofia Checa (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Arslan Razmi (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Rakhshanda Saleem (Harvard Medical School and Lesley University)
Sahar Shafqat (St. Mary's College of Maryland)
Saadia Toor (College of Staten Island, CUNY)

-Sedition case against 14 PU teachersDAWN, November 22 2007
Political debate banned in collegesDAWN, November 22 2007
LUMS professors, students charged under MPO Daily Times, December 05, 2007 -

Send your letters/faxes/emails to:General (Retd.) Pervez MusharrafPakistan SecretariatIslamabad, PakistanFax: (92) 51-922-1422
Email: ,, or via the website
Embassy of Pakistan in Washington,
DC3517 International Court,
NWWashington DC, 20008
Phone: 202-243-6500,
Fax: 202-686-1534
Ambassador Mahmud Ali Durrani: 202- 243-6500 Ext. 2000 & 2001
Email: &
Punjab University Administrators:
Dr. Muhammad Arif ButtVice Chancellor, Punjab UniversityLahore, Pakistan
Phone: (92) 42-923-1098, Fax: (92) 42-923-1101

General (Retd.) Pervez MusharrafIslamabad, PakistanMr. Musharraf:We, the undersigned, are appalled by the charges brought against 14 faculty members of the Punjab University under sections 124-A, 188, 143/149 and 16-MPO. They have been charged with sedition and provoking the masses against thegovernment for its action of imposing emergency and promulgating the PCO.The charges against the Punjab University faculty were registered after the said academics organized and participated in demonstrations against the promulgation of emergency and abrogation of the constitution. These were peaceful protests held inside the campus. We demand the withdrawal of the charges against the faculty members of Punjab University.We are also appalled by the restrictions on academic institutions and civil society in general including the ban on open debate in all colleges and universities, as well as the curbs on constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and association of the citizenry of Pakistan.

University campuses are supposed to be the center of political debate and activity, not zones of repressive censorship. The undersigned condemn the curbs on free speech and attempts to silence voices through intimidation and harassment. We also condemn the suspension of the constitutional rights of freedom of assembly andassociation. The ban on political debates on campuses is a violation of the most basic tenet of academic freedom; we demand that this ban be lifted immediately.We express solidarity with our colleagues at Punjab University and all those in Pakistan engaged in the just struggle to end the state of emergency and restore the constitution and the rule of law in Pakistan.
Sincerely,The Undersigned

cc. Pakistani Embassy in Washington,
DCVice Chancellor, Punjab University

( The Emergency Times Eds- The charges against the 4 Lums Professors have just recently been dropped and those arrested from GOR released ( all charges dropped). The pressure being mounted by civil society and the students to add to the regular grilling by the lawyers, human rights activists and the journalists is beginning to tell. The defiant struggle is finally beginning to bear fruit. The Punjab university faculty members who chose to voice a thriving conscience must also be fought for with equal vigour. We will not allow the state to bully the soldiers of justice into submission. The SAC calls for support for these faculty members.)

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