Lahore: More than 200 university professors, lecturers and researchers have signed a letter circulating at social media platforms raising serious concerns about the stifling of free speech and academic freedom on campuses across Pakistan.The signatories include prominent academics from various leading Pakistani and foreign universities. Globally renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky is among them. Leading Pakistani universities represented in the list are Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad; Karachi University, Punjab University, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), and Habib University.The signatures campaign started in the wake of a series of events including cancellation of talks at Habib University in Karachi and LUMS on the Pashtun Tahhafuz Movement and to mark the first death anniversary of Mashal Khan and arbitrary firing by Punjab University of an assistant professor in Sociology Department who was teaching six classes and supervising two PhD students, and had not yet been paid for his services either. Finally, the administration of Gomal Univeristy in Dera Ismael Khan was apparently visited by security personnel who asked it to remove courses on critical thinking from the curriculum. The letter states, “All four events are part of a wider trend that stifles critical thinking and discussion on university campuses. As faculty members, we believe the university must be a space where faculty and students are free to share ideas and engage in thoughtful analysis of pressing social issues without experiencing fear or intimidation. The function of the university is to foster an atmosphere in which ideas are respectfully shared and rigorous research and analysis is encouraged. It is only through open discussion and debate that our most pressing social and political problems will be properly understood and diagnosed. The future of our country rests on how well we train our students as thinkers and analysts. It is for these reasons that the events of recent days are so troubling. As faculty members we strongly condemn the intimidation and repression taking place in universities at the moment, and we urge the relevant authorities to take action against those responsible and to ensure that our universities remain free from outside interference in the future.”Published in Daily Times, April 18th 2018.