Liaquatabad college lost its principal, Syed Sibte Jafar Zaidi, in a shooting near the institute on Tuesday.
The 54-year-old professor, who was also a poet, was on his way home to Khamosh Colony on a motorcycle when, around 1:45pm, he was shot dead. The shooting took place around 200 metres from the Government Degree Science College, Liaquatabad, where Zaidi taught.
According to witnesses, two young men on a motorcycle were waiting for Zaidi at a speed breaker. “As soon as his motorcycle slowed down, they shot him at least four times,” said a shopkeeper, Amjad Ali, adding that the shooters were wearing shalwar kameez.
Zaidi died even before the police reached the site but his body was taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for an autopsy. It was later handed over to the family.
According to DSP Wajahat Hussain, a 9mm pistol was used in the shooting. The bullet shells will be sent to the forensic division. Hussain suspected that Zaidi was shot on a sectarian basis. As the news of his death broke, a number of college teachers, students, relatives and people belonging to various Shia community organisations also reached the hospital.
Zaidi’s students and colleagues recall his simplicity and his love for Urdu poetry. “He was a devoted ‘marsiya khuwan’ and had trained hundreds of students in this art,” recalled Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) former president Prof. Mirza Athar Hussain. He even established an institute to teach the art of writing and reciting elegy, and was well-versed in Urdu, Arabic and Persian, he added.
Prof. Zaidi was appointed the principal of the Government Degree Science College, Liaquatabad, in 2010. “For his entire life, he kept an old motorcycle,” remembered Prof. Hussain. “You needed to call him only once to help out in personal or academic matters and he would arrive immediately.”
To protest the murder, SPLA has announced a boycott of academic activities on Tuesday (today) across the province, said the organisation’s president Prof. Iftikhar Azmi, adding that all colleges will remain closed. The Shia Ulema Council also announced three days of mourning.
Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jafri, the secretary-general of Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, said that the people of Pakistan lost a great teacher, a poet and a humanist. “Prof. Sibte Jafar oxygenated Urdu marsia but the terrorists deoxygenated him,” he said. “His brutal murder is tantamount to the murder of Urdu literature and marsia.”
Five other killings
A police inspector, ASI Zakir Hussain, son of Ghulam Mustafa, was shot at least 16 times in Pak Jamhoria Colony within Frere police limits on Monday. His body was taken to Jinnah hospital for autopsy. ASI Hussain was in-charge of the Abdul Shah Ghazi police post and was also doing a course for a promotion at the Baldia Police Training Centre.
According to SHO Ahmed Asim, ASI Hussain lived near the residence of Shera Pathan, who was reportedly killed in the same incident as Lyari’s notorious gangster Arshad Pappu.
Meanwhile, Shahrukh Ali was shot dead at his puncture shop in Ghas Mandi, within Napier police precincts. The police denied that Ali had any political affiliations. Another owner of a puncture shop, 22-year-old Danish Ashraf, was shot dead near Baloch Hotel within the limits of Liaquatabad police station. The victim was sleeping at his shop when he was shot, said the police, unable to determine the motive behind the killing. Docks police found the body of Mannan alias Munna, 25. The police said the victim was kidnapped and then shot dead. Korangi police found the slaughtered body of a woman, who has yet to be identified.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2013.