Killed for 'blasphemy': Police to interrogate murdered KU dean's colleagues

A senior police officer says the three collegaues were blamed for the SMS controversy

Afp September 19, 2014

KARACHI: Police interrogated on Friday University of Karachi faculty in connection with the murder of a dean of Islamic studies known for his liberal views who had been labeled a 'blasphemer' in a text message campaign.

Mohammad Shakil Auj, the 54-year-old dean of Islamic Studies at the university, was called an apostate in the widely-circulated message that said he should be beheaded after he issued controversial religious decrees.

They included allowing a Muslim woman to marry out of her faith and to pray while wearing lipstick and nail polish.

He was shot dead while driving to an Iranian cultural centre where he was invited as a guest of honour on Thursday, while a junior colleague travelling with him received a bullet wound to her arm.

Auj, a recipient of a presidential medal of distinction, had been fighting a case against the originators of the text message campaign which began two years ago.

"We are currently interrogating at least three professors, who were the former colleagues of Dr Auj and were blamed for the SMS controversy," Pir Mohammad Shah, a senior police officer in charge of the case told AFP.

The suspects were named as Abdul Rasheed -- the department's previous dean, along with Auj's colleagues Naseer Ahmed Akhtar and Ubaid Ahmed Khan. Another suspect named Mohammad Samiuz Zaman was a secretary at the nearby NED Engineering University.

"They all were involved in the SMS controversy for which the late Dr Auj had registered the case two years back fearing risks to his life," Shah said.

The SMS read: "The blasphemer of the Prophet and Quran, Dr Shakil, curses be upon him, deserves only one punishment -- beheading."

At the time he opened the case in 2012, the late professor told police: "It has endangered my life and on the basis of the propaganda I could be murdered."

A recent report from a US government advisory panel said Pakistan used blasphemy laws more than any other country in the world. It listed 14 people on death row and 19 others serving life sentences for insulting Islam.


Parvez Khalid | 7 years ago | Reply

Ashamed to be a Pakistani right now. We have lost the plot as a nation. It is true, these draconion laws are the product of 1st the British Empire & then Zia.

Hari Om | 7 years ago | Reply And so in Pakistan, translated as the “Land of the Pure”, the distillation process continues with the aim of finding among the “pure” Muslims, strands which are made up of even “purer” Muslims. When a country is formed for one particular religion, namely Islam, under a supremacist religion driven ideology like the Two Nation Theory; is obsessed with giving everything a Muslim tinge going to the extent of calling itself an “Islamic Republic”, “Ideological Muslim State”, “Citadel of Islam” and “Sole Islamic Nuclear Weapon Power”, it was just a matter of time before less pure Islamic Scholars get killed for not being Islamically pure enough.
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