Female students were forced to stare at a blank screen during a university speech about ‘how to stop worrying and live a happy life’, it has been claimed.
The speaker was former cricket star Saeed Anwar who has become an Islamic preacher since retiring in 2003 as one of Pakistan’s highest scoring batsmen.
A source at the University of Peshawar in northern Pakistan, who wishes to remain anonymous, has claimed Anwar requested gender segregation so female students could hear his voice only, in a move typical of orthodox Islam.
A picture of the women sitting in rows of seats behind a fence has been slammed as ‘Talibanisation in process’ after going viral on social media.
The source claimed the female students were disappointed the university allowed the segregation to happen but most will remain silent.
They told Metro.co.uk: ‘Personally I consider it an act of gender discrimination against the female students which should have not happened at the campus.
‘Universities are supposed to nurture our youth and provide them with equal opportunities regardless of their gender.
‘I consider Saeed Anwar’s request as irrational. The majority of the female students were dressed according to Islamic values.
They added: ‘Secluding them in such a manner is ill-treatment and disrespect.’
According to a university press release, a huge number of ‘both male and female’ students and teachers participated in the talk, but it made no mention of the gender divide.
It states the subject of Anwar’s speech was about his past life as a celebrity and how religion saved him from depression.
He reportedly said: ‘I was also moving in depression. However, I was saved when I reverted to religion.
‘There is no happiness and satisfaction in the material world.’
In a separate video posted by the Khyber Medical College, whose students attended the speech, Anwar is filmed being greeted by a crowd of men and an armed guard.
Bushra Gohar, a former MP in Pakistan, criticised the authorities at the university.
She wrote: ‘Those at the decision making think they have the right to restrict and control women’s participation.’
Metro.co.uk has contacted the University of Peshawar for comment.