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Islamabad express

Pakistan's decrepit universities

By Pervez Hoodbhoy   December 2003

For three days in mid-October, Punjabi and Pashtun students fought a pitched battle at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad. With sticks, stones and automatic weapons they hammered away. From my end of campus I could hear bursts of Kalashnikov fire. Then, on the fourth day, one student died of gunshot wounds and the university closed down. Although classes resumed three weeks later, fear of revenge killings continues to stalk the campus. This last murder was the fourth this year at Pakistan’s most prestigious public sector university.

It is no surprise that Pakistan’s public universities are so prone to bloodletting. Even the…

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