Gunmen shot dead prominent religious scholar and the first vice-chancellor of the proposed Swat Islamic University, Dr Mohammad Farooq Khan, in Mardan district on Saturday.
Two gunmen entered Dr Farooq’s clinic in the Baghdada neighbourhood of Mardan during lunch break and opened fire on him, a source told The Express Tribune.
When one of his clinic attendants tried to save Dr Farooq, the attackers also shot him dead. Witnesses say both gunmen were in their late twenties and were wielding pistols. Both fled the scene in a car after the shooting.
Dr Farooq was ferried to the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) for treatment, where he succumbed to his injuries. According to the autopsy report, he was shot five times in the chest.
Dr Farooq, 55, used to spend two days at his clinic during a week, which was located adjacent to the clinic of his wife, Dr Rizwana Farooq, a gynaecologist.
Police threw a security cordon around the area and mounted a manhunt for the gunmen. No group has claimed responsibility for the killing. But District Police Officer Waqif Khan told journalists that it could be linked to the ongoing militancy in the region. Dr Farooq Khan had no enmity with anyone and there were no reports of any kind of threats to his life.
Residents of Mardan expressed anger at the incident. Local traders pulled down their shutters to protest Dr Farooq Khan’s killing.
In Swat, too, the incident was strongly denounced by people from all walks of life.
“Whoever killed Dr Farooq Khan is an enemy of Pakhtuns who want to keep them illiterate,”
Niaz Ahmad Khan, a local journalist, told The Express Tribune, “Why are educationists and scholars being killed ruthlessly? It is an attempt to stop us from acquiring education,” added Waqar Khan, a college student.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2010.