It comes after the country has seen unrest in the past week, as former prime minister Imran Khan was arrested on May 9, then subsequently released after the country’s supreme court ruled his detention was illegal.
The exams cancelled include British Council, Pearson, University of London and Cambridge International. IELTS exams were cancelled on May 10 and 11, but no specific mention of them was made by British Council as of May 12.
The British Council tweeted that due to the “ongoing situation” in Pakistan they would be cancelling “all exams”.
It is the third day in a row that the exam centres have been closed.
Due to the ongoing situation in the country, we have cancelled all Cambridge International, Pearson & University of London exams scheduled across Pakistan on Friday 12 May.
We are communicating with affected candidates via schools and with private candidates directly. pic.twitter.com/mUgpQDthxQ
— British Council Pakistan (@pkBritish) May 11, 2023
The tweet states that communication with “affected candidates” is also ongoing, but some replies to the tweet show that for some candidates this hasn’t been the case – one reply said “you could have said the same thing a few hours ago”.
A student wrote underneath the tweet, “And hence, all my hardwork [sic] went down the drain. CAIE should grant the grades of potential students after surveying their progress from colleges.”
In response to The PIE’s request for comment, Cambridge International said the “difficult decision of cancelling” exams was taken after discussions with partners and the British Council.
Khan’s arrest and the subsequent back-walking by the court has caused his supporters to flood the streets of Islamabad and other cities – some protests, according to reports, have become violent.
“We have a clear duty of care towards our students, partners and staff to prioritise their safety,” Cambridge International’s spokesperson said.
According to Aljazeera, nearly a dozen people have been killed.
Despite the order for his arrest on May 9 and subsequent release just two days later, Khan was ordered to stay at the police building overnight “for his own safety”, but was allowed to bring 10 people to stay with him in the facilities.
Despite the ruling that his arrest was illegal, the protests are ongoing. He was originally arrested while appearing in front of the country’s high court on corruption charges.
Earlier in the week, British Council Pakistan had to dispel confusion among candidates after local channels reported that the exams originally scheduled for May 10 would be rescheduled on May 11 and 12.
Some headlines on local news channels have reported that exams scheduled for 10 May have been rescheduled to 11 and 12 May. This news is incorrect. pic.twitter.com/Szp2n0r6Mt
— British Council Pakistan (@pkBritish) May 10, 2023
“Although the exams scheduled on 10,11 and 12 May were cancelled, Cambridge has a well-established ‘special consideration’ process to issue results when some exams are cancelled. We are working to agree the next steps and will communicate detailed information to our schools as soon as possible.
“We are actively monitoring the situation with our partners and are sharing information with schools as quickly as we can,” a spokesperson told The PIE News.
The PIE has also contacted British Council Pakistan and Pearson for comment.