Dr Tauseef Aized Higher education in Pakistan is facing many challenges which include the total number of universities, enrolment of students, gender based equity, quality of teaching and research, institutional governance, curriculum and violence in institutions. The total number of universities and degree awarding institutions in both public and private sectors is 130 for the population size of 170 million which is quite less than required. Although, the preceding government had established many new institutions, yet the need is not satisfied and every district should at least have one university. There are many districts in Pakistan where no higher education institution is available and many students who cannot afford to go to other places abandon their studies due to unavailability of universities in their home districts. In addition, the number of students in the higher education sector is very low. There are only a little more than 700,000 students with less than 4 percent of the total population. Though enrolment of females in the universities has increased to 10 percent, yet it is alarmingly at a very low level. Only 400,000 female students were enrolled against a population of 86 million women according to mid 2009 estimates. The poor representation of the 51 percent population of the nation in higher education demands emergent steps to rectify the situation. Furthermore the quality of our existing institutions in terms of teaching and research cannot be compared with the rest of the developing world, let alone the developed world. The quality of research is even worse than our teaching standard. It is a common practice in our universities to carry out fake research based on trivial results and sometimes on plagiarism. The biggest fault of our research is its non-linkage with social and societal system without which our society cannot get benefit from the efforts of our research, even if it is a genuine and scholarly work. Another challenge is that the government and funding agencies as they sometimes dictate the institutions which makes them less productive. Moreover the universities are administered in a bureaucratic leadership style which does not provide enough space for the people to participate with vigour and enthusiasm that leads to dissatisfaction in among faculty members and students. The overall environment is not at all progressive. There is no second opinion that a liberal environment is a prerequisite if we want our system to be productive. Finally, a very important aspect of our university life is the violence and unrest caused by our students. The biggest cause of this nonsense phenomenon is incessant interference of political parties in our institutions for the sake of their political gains. The government should take concrete steps to eradicate all sort of political interference in our institutions, be it from radical and conservative religious groups or from liberal and progressive political parties. The higher education institutions are for education only and these should not be the battlegrounds of political conflicts. Any political party, which has a student wing functional in universities, must be advised to avoid such practices through legal and constitutional bindings. The writer is a professor at the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore and currently research fellow at the Monash University, Australia.