Dark Abyss of Extremism in Pakistan and Human Rights Concerns

Four people have been sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) on charges of alleged blasphemy. One of them is a religious scholar himself and another is a former professor of a college.

Nobody has raised the question on the jurisdiction of ATC over such matters and no one asked how religious dissent (if any) can be equated with terrorism after this verdict? Supreme court of Pakistan once termed ATC as a parallel legal system, which violated the constitution and constitutional rights of people. CJ Irshad Hasan Khan equated ATC with “justice rushed is justice crushed” in the judgement.

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Why Some Pakistani PhD Scholars Do Not Return to the Homeland?

Pursuing higher education has always been a privilege for most Pakistanis until HEC was founded in the early 2000s by the government of Pakistan. HEC designed assessment tests and ways to provide qualified people scholarships at home and abroad to pursue higher education i.e. masters, PhDs, and post-doctorates via programs like overseas Pakistani scholarships (OSS), faculty development program (FDP), indigenous scholarship program, cultural exchange program and commonwealth program among others.

I have had the opportunity to apply for most of these programs, where I qualified for an indigenous scholarship four times, FDP once, commonwealth once, applied for OSS thrice, and appeared in its interview once. Although, I couldn’t secure any of these scholarships due to personal reasons or political and administrative hurdles. Finally, when I was serving as a faculty member at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), I secured a foreign scholarship in a Top-100 university in 2015 and completed my PhD in 2018.

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