Drivers of violent extremism in higher education institutions of Pakistan
Since 2004, madrassas (Islamic seminaries) of Pakistan have been the primary focus of peace education interventions in Pakistan. The incidents of violence involving university students are a historic phenomenon in Pakistan, but the tendencies of violent clashes on university campuses and recruitment of university student in violent extremism are increasing. Despite an increasing number of violent clashes on university campuses and recruitment of university students by Islamists for jihad (holy war), there is negligible literature on university students’ radicalization in Pakistan. This study provides empirical data based on a comparative analysis of students’ perception from two public sector universities of Pakistan, namely the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) and the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU). The findings suggest different dynamics of hate speech, availability of extremist material and extremist recruitment between the two universities. While the QAU campus is dominated by politically motivated ethnic groups, the IIUI students are exposed to religiously motivated contents, violence, and recruitment. As it is reported in this study, the differences between the two universities are also because most of the IIUI students have religious inclinations because of their madrassa backgrounds and also because of the dominance of groups like the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba Pakistan.