Updated April 1st, 2024 at 21:12 IST

Pakistan: Why Are Students in Karachi Boycotting Coca-Cola?

Students at Karachi University's Institute of Business Administration reportedly walked out of a Coca-Cola recruitment drive to show support for Gaza.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Several students in Karachi allegedly walked out of a Coca-Cola recruitment drive late last month. | Image:Pexels

Karachi: A purported video of a walkout protest against American beverage giant Coca-Cola at Karachi University's Institute of Business Administration (IBA) has gone viral after being shared on X. The video has left netizens divided. It shows IBA students attending a recruitment drive by Coca-Cola, an understandably significant opportunity for any business student looking for their first major professional break. 

This is precisely why what follows in the video has gone viral on social media. As the company representatives enter IBA, they begin their address by urging the attending students to observe a moment of silence for events transpiring in Gaza. The request seemingly serves as a trigger for the students, with many of them simply standing up and walking out of the event, while a handful holding up anti-war placards in protest, as the baffled recruiters looked on.


The context for what is transpiring in the video is not difficult to grasp. Following the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and terrorist organisations in Gaza, several groups, organisations and nations condemned or even banned companies that have been seen as being supportive of Israel and its actions. 

The Turkish Parliament, for instance, banned products from Swiss multinational Nestle and Coca-Cola from being served on its premises in support of Gaza. 


Similarly, several companies have faced informal boycotts in Pakistan for their perceived support of Israel. More recently, an attack on a KFC outlet in Pakistan was also attributed to pro-Palestine sentiments among the rioters who set the American food chain outlet on fire. 

Thus, the staged walkout of IBA students from the Coca-Cola recruitment drive in Karachi can be seen in this light.


As noted above, the purported video of the walkout has elicited mixed reactions amongst netizens, as may be expected from a polarising topic such as the war in Gaza.

While some, notably the IBA alumni, praised the students for prioritising their principles over self-interest, still others criticised them for supporting terrorist groups like Hamas and ignoring employment opportunities at a time when Pakistan's economic condition was far from stable. 


Several media reports indicate that the walkout was not simply an impromptu decision but rather a continuation of a longer protest. It has been claimed that students had previously tried to dissuade Karachi University from holding the Coca-Cola recruitment drive in the first place, an effort that self-evidently failed.   


Published April 1st, 2024 at 20:28 IST