On Thursday, June 5th, the principal of Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad, expelled every student who belonged to the Ahmadi community from the college.
A total of twenty three students, fifteen female and eight male, across the five years of medical school have been expelled as a result. Further details regarding the incident can also be found in reports from the BBC and from the Daily Times.
The Ahmadi students were “accused” of preaching their religious beliefs. The principal was pressured into expelling the entire Ahmadi student body by a mob of protesters belonging to Islami Jamiat e Talaba. The mob circled the Principalâ€™s office and demanded the expulsions. The same day, a mob of about 300 college students also barged into Ahmadi studentsâ€™ rooms, beat them and threw their luggage out of their rooms.
What makes this incident especially troubling is the fact that the decision to expel Ahmadi students was taken by a government-run medical school, under full knowledge of the relevant Punjab ministries.
As an academic, and a Pakistani, I am totally appalled by this latest incidence of religious fanaticism. One hopes that the present Punjab government turns a page, and instead of supporting the forces of extremism, comes to the protection of its ordinary citizens.
Atif Mian is Associate Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business.