A senior professor of a reputed medical college in Pakistan's most populous Punjab province has received threats after he asked a student not to wear the 'hijab' or headscarf in his classes.

Shaharyar, the head of the oncology department of King Edward Medical University in Lahore, had asked a girl attending a fourth-year MBBS class not to wear the hijab. "It s better if you wear the hijab outside the classroom," Shaharyar had said while delivering a lecture a few days ago.

Following his remarks, students affiliated to the Islami Jamiat Tulba, the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, boycotted Shaharyar's classes and protested against him. The IJT activists demanded that the Vice-Chancellor should take action against Shaharyar or else they would not allow him to enter the campus.

Shaharyar said: "I have received threatening messages on my cell phone. I have done nothing wrong as I had just told the girl student that the hijab was unnecessary in class." Though Shaharyar apologised to the student concerned following pressure from extremist elements, the members of the IJT have not withdrawn their demand for "anti-Islam" elements to be thrown out of the campus.

IJT leader Akhtar Nazir said, "The professor's action is highly objectionable and we are not ready tolerate it. We demand action against him." Some students have submitted a written complaint against Shaharyar to the varsity s administration.

Vice-Chancellor Asad Aslam told PTI that the university was seriously considering a proposal to transfer Shaharyar after his "controversial" remarks about the hijab. "There has been unrest in the campus after his remarks and to restore peace in the varsity, we have no other option but to transfer him," Aslam said.