HEC Fatwa – Letter by Isa Daudpota to HEC

A letter sent by Isa Daudpota to the Executive Director of HEC regarding the HEC notification silencing anti-Govt discussion and debate

Dr Mansoor A Kundi
Executive Director
Higher Education Commission
Dear Dr Kundi (cc Chairman HEC and some academics),

Dr Abdullah Sadiq and I received a query about the attached note — circulated by you to universities — from our friend, Mr Naeem Sadiq in Karachi.

Only now have I ascertained that the note is genuine. What you are essentially recommending is censorship! Given the already suffocating intellectual environment on our campuses, your note will only strengthen those who wish to create a repressive atmosphere of George Orwell’s brilliant dystopia, “1984”

Remember, that it was not long ago that the fascist Zaid Hamid was a welcome guest on our campuses, where he spouted venom against other countries, the Pakistan government and many institutions of the state. Perhaps HEC can now claim ignorance of such visits, and by others of a similar vein. I feel that people like Hamid ought to be heard and questioned by academics. On the other hand, it is nearly impossible for liberal voices to get a hearing on our campuses. (I am aware of a case where an academic was reprimanded by the VC of a university for countering the hate speech of Hamid on campus!)

Barring the few exceptions who survive with their curiosity and intellect unscathed, the vast majority of students leaving our universities have their critical thinking skills dulled. This flaw is intimately related to the lack of civilized open-ended dialogue and discussion on vital national and global issues in our institutions.

To illustrate my viewpoint I attach a video, “Nature of Schooling”, by the world’s top public intellectual, Noam Chomsky, responding to a question by a school student. I also urge you to read:

The Responsibility of Intellectuals, by Noam Chomsky

With respect to the responsibility of intellectuals, there are still other, equally disturbing questions. Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments …

One hopes that this material and the quotes below give you the confidence to encourage diversity of thought on and off campuses.

I will be happy to hear your views.

Best regards,

Isa Daudpota
Islamabad, Pakistan