Mystery crime: Journalist found dead in artist’s DHA studio

Published: April 20, 2012
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Murtaza Razvi had worked at Dawn for about 10 years. PHOTO: TWITTER

Murtaza Razvi had worked at Dawn for about 10 years. PHOTO: TWITTER

KARACHI: On Thursday afternoon, the first lane of Khadda Market was jammed with police vehicles. Officers were cordoning off the area and redirecting traffic as the body of Murtaza Razvi, senior assistant editor at Daily Dawn and head of its magazines section, was being brought down from the Rassam Studio of Arts.

The body was taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC). “There were marks on his neck as if someone had used a rope to strangle him,” said JPMC MLO Jugdesh Kumar after the post-mortem. “He was strangled to death. A cummerbund was used. I cannot share further details as the police is still investigating the case.”

Razvi’s body was found in the first-floor apartment of Faran Homes, located on 10th Commercial Street. The apartment, which has four rooms, was being used as a private studio by artist Shahid Rassam, who is believed to be a good friend.

Razvi was reported missing on Thursday morning by his wife since he had not come home on Wednesday night. “Rassam and his watchman found the body in the morning,” according to Darakhshan SHO Muhammad Mubeen. “He called Razvi’s wife and the police was informed later.” Rassam was asked to come to the station to record a statement.

He added that Razvi was most probably murdered early morning on Thursday. They did not say why he was murdered but ruled out a sectarian motivation.

Investigating officer Khuda Baksh said that when they found the body, Razvi’s hands were tied with a maroon cloth that appeared to be a kameez.

No FIR was lodged by the time this report was filed. The family said that he did not have any personal enmities and have requested the media not to speculate till the police investigate.

Razvi leaves behind a widow and three daughters. The funeral prayers will be held at Masjid-e-Yasrib in Phase IV, DHA after Jumma prayers today.

A cultured journalist

Razvi was born in 1964. He worked with Dawn for over ten years. He held the post of Dawn’s resident editor in Lahore and moved to Karachi to take over as magazines editor. He was the author of Musharraf: The Years in Power (2009) and Ordinary People (1992).

Friends and colleagues remember Razvi as a kind man. The editor of Dawn’s investigative monthly magazine, Herald, Badar Alam, said that Razvi had been helpful when he had moved to Karachi. “He knew everything about Urdu and Persian literature and poetry. He was a very cultured man,” he said. “He showed me around the city and invited my family over for dinner and a chat. He was like a brother and a mentor to me. He was always willing to own up to his mistakes and improve.”

Dawn feature writer Peerzada Salman said Razvi had looked after the Gallery section of the paper for many years. “I am still in shock over his death,” he said. “I had lunch with him three times last week. This is just unbelievable.”

The News Karachi senior editor Talat Aslam said he had known Razvi for many years, and they later worked together at Dawn as editorial staffers. He recalled him as being “very funny, very sophisticated, well informed, well read and witty”. “He had a biting sense of humour. We’d meet off and on and get on well together,” Aslam said.

Advertising executive Sami Shah worked with Razvi when Shah was employed at DawnNews. “I was introduced to him by Abbas Nasir, the editor-at-large at the time. I was doing my show, News Weakly then, and Dawn was concerned that I’d get them into trouble etc. so Razvi was tasked to edit the show. Every week he’d go over the script, make things funnier, and add value. He was a sweetheart, a complete gentleman. He was a well read, really smart and intelligent guy. The last time I spoke to him properly was when he’d written this beautiful article for Dawn and I told him how much I liked it, and he was very gracious. It’s just a shock.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Jalal
    Apr 20, 2012 - 10:36AM

    he was simply brilliant. a huge loss for pakistan.
    what reason could anyone find to commit such a heinous act ?

    can the govt find the perpetrators or will it go cold like the saleem shazad case ?

    people in pakistan should rise and protest like the arab spring and ask for justice and security

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  • DevilHunterX
    Apr 20, 2012 - 11:37AM

    Google David Carradine

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  • Anon
    Apr 20, 2012 - 11:51AM

    Unfortunate death and my condolences go out to the family. At the same time I would like to thank ET for clearly stipulating that sectarian motive has been ruled out by the police, because some comm enters here like to quickly jump sectarian trigger, as soon as they find out the person was a shia. Let’s be more prudent next time and not throw around such accusations so casually

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  • abbas
    Apr 20, 2012 - 12:37PM

    @Jalal – Reasons are obvious. His first crime (living in Pakistan) was his name ‘Murtaza Razvi’ and second crime he was a journalist. 2 days back a university VP was killed for being Shia.
    There are blood hounds all around us and they are bak in action. May Allah do the justice soon.

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  • plaintalk
    Apr 20, 2012 - 12:43PM

    Such people are not born every day. Imagine a man who could communicate in Persian today. He was indeed rare.

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  • Riaz Khan
    Apr 20, 2012 - 1:10PM

    Sad! We should not speculate till such such time truth is known besides let’s leave his personal life alone. Rest in Peace!

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  • Rana Ashraf
    Apr 20, 2012 - 1:22PM

    He was killed just like Saleem Shezad for writing honestly, boldly & sincerely. For how long our establishment will silence these sane voices trying to save this country from total destruction?

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  • Umm..
    Apr 20, 2012 - 1:40PM

    Police rules out sectarian motive. Like I said yesterday, people should not unnecessarily fan sectarian flames and malign other sects without knowing the full facts first. Regards to the family of the editor in this time of loss.

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  • Err
    Apr 20, 2012 - 2:04PM

    @abbas:
    When Saleem shahzad gets killed – He’s a victim of agencies for being a reporter. But if Murtaza Razvi gets killed – He is done so for being a shia? What kind of a logic is this?Even sunni university vp’s have been kidnapped by the taliban and killed. Stop stirring sectarian sentiments unnecessarily, even the police have ruled out sectarian motive, but people like you keep insisting otherwise and perceptually live in a victim mode!!!

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  • dv sikka
    Apr 20, 2012 - 2:56PM

    A very scary situation, this shows that you have to be a chamcha of Pakistani propaganda mchine for survival. That means one must write lies to brainwash Pakistanis. May his noble soul rest in peace.

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  • Rana Ashraf
    Apr 20, 2012 - 7:14PM

    We do not want HONEST journalists instead very happy with liars, corrupt & those who can be bought by establishment & agencies. I see very bad times for this unfortunate country heading towards disaster with no sense whatsoever. Feel sad for young generation who have nowhere to go!

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  • Doosam
    Apr 20, 2012 - 10:07PM

    @Devil, so are you suggesting that he died of accidental asphyxiation? That’s a shameful (yet still possible) assumption; you do know the man and just making up these suggestions when no one knows yet what led to his tragic death. It’s a mystery right now but nothing can be ruled out – sectarian (usually they just shoot and don’t strangle), agencies (remember Saleem Shahzad) or even what DevilH says.
    And I’d agree with Rana Ashraf here

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  • ouch
    Apr 21, 2012 - 12:25AM

    Indeed a grave loss for his family, Pakistan’s journalists and especially for an art & literature fan, but for God sake he was a gallery magazine editor, apparently nothing to do with agencies.. on sectarian angle, he was strangulated in his friend’s house where he went and must have opened door to someone he already knew… sectarian target killers don’t need this elaborate setup to kill someone these days but people like Abbas and Rana Ashraf has probably lost all their analytical abilities or have some personal vendetta against peace in Pakistan henceforth speculating this ridiculously…

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  • abbas
    Apr 21, 2012 - 10:55AM

    @Err – Saleem Shehzad was a investigative reporter and killed bcoz of other reasons known to many. Murtaza Rizvi and the University VP killing has no obvious reasons besides them belonging to a specific sect. U would see ths trend continue till the time thr is some sort of action / reaction.
    @Ouch – I wish your sympathies and ofcourse great analytical skills with out codemnation of obvious killers are good enough for the families of those innocent who are being killed for no reason. You can live with your assumption that thr is nothing wrong in the country and with our pple.
    @ both of you – Atleast I have the guts to use my correct name.

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  • Rahat
    Apr 29, 2012 - 3:18PM

    what kind of policy does express tribune have? Publicity of a rival newspaper in the blogs…seriously? Immaturity of Tribune’s writers, and the lack of stringent policy regarding its editorial content, will never let this newspaper grow, that had seemed to show some spark in its initial days.

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