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Monday February 26, 2024

QAU Holi celebration: HEC directs universities to 'distance themselves' from 'incompatible' events

Commission directs educational institutions to distance themselves from activities "incompatible with the country's identity and societal values"

By Web Desk
June 21, 2023
The entrance of the HEC building in Islamabad. — HEC website
The entrance of the HEC building in Islamabad. — HEC website 

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Wednesday directed higher education institutions (HEIs) to "distance themselves" from activities "incompatible with the country's identity and societal values."

The commission's decision came a few days after students at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) in Islamabad celebrated Holi — a Hindu religious festival celebrated during spring — stirring controversy across social media, with some praising the act and others directing criticism towards the organisers. 

The Holi celebrations took place earlier this month, with a huge number of students partaking in the event. A Twitter account, sharing updates of the Quaid-i-Azam University, posted a video where students were seen celebrating the event.

In light of the much-talked-about celebrations, the commission has decided to restrict such events in order to preserve the nation's ideology stating that HEIs have an ultimate responsibility to polish and nurture the exuberance of youth into learned, mature, and responsible citizens.

"Foregoing in view, it is advised that the HEIs may prudently distance themselves from all such activities obviously incompatible with the country's identity and societal values, white ensuring that they rigorously engage their students and facutty in academic pursuits, intellectual debates, and cognitive learning besides identifying, creating, and fostering avenues for extra-curricular activities and rational discourse," a notification released by HEC read.

The HECs notification. — HEC
The HEC's notification. — HEC

In its notification, the commission wrote: "Unfortunately, it is sad to witness activities that portray a complete disconnect from our sociocultural values and an erosion of the country’s Islamic identity."

The commission added that one such "widely reported" and "publicised" instance involving the fervour exhibited in celebrating Holi from the platform of a university has "caused concern and has disadvantageously affected the country’s image."

"While there is no denying the fact that cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity leads towards an inclusive and tolerant society, that profoundly respects all faiths, and creeds; albeit it needs to be done so in a measured manner without going overboard," it mentioned.

HEC reminded higher education institutions to "apprise students about being aware of the self-serving vested interests who use them for their own ends far from the altruistic critical thinking paradigm."