‘I buried a dream with Prof Yasir Rizvi’

By Saad Rabbani

I met him a day before unknown assailants killed him with a 9mm pistol.

It was April 28. I looked for him in every class room of the glass domed department of mass communication at Karachi University. When I could not find him, I headed to his office—a white non-air conditioned unimpressive office, which teemed with books and mildewed yellow paper.

The 42 year old professor sat at his desk, his salt and pepper beard adding years to his face, his large spectacles adding character. The room was brimming with students so I waited at the door. They asked him for job opportunities, discussed pending assignments and the general social disparity in the society—he replied to each of them calmly, humbly—like a friend.

When he saw me waiting at the door, he stood up, smiled and invited me inside. “Arey mian tumhari hi kami thi.”

This was Yasir Rizvi, an assistant professor at Karachi University and my mentor, who was brutally gunned down by unknown assasins on April 29.

That day we sat and talked for hours. Over five cups of tea, we discussed politics, religion and education. We cracked jokes—he would high five every time he found something very funny.

When we left his office it was eight. We walked to his car. He stopped and realized that he had left the lights on at his office. “It’s just a light bulb. You have to be here tomorrow morning again,” I said. He smiled and left.

He never returned.

A friend’s phone call woke me early next morning. “Is Prof Rizvi really dead? It’s all over the news.”

Bakwas band karo!” I screamed at the phone.

I called Sir Yasir. He never answered.

Then I called my friend Aoun. “Where are you?”…. “At the Edhi Morgue,” he said, “They killed him.” And then he broke into tears.

For an hour I stayed numb in bed. Then I gathered my self and made it to the funeral. I saw hundreds of wet eyes, broken hearts and one common question, “Why him?”

If they had talked to him for ten minutes, they could never have pulled the trigger.

That day, I did not bury a body, I buried a dream, my dream of an educated Pakistan. I demand justice for Yasir Rizv, and justice for Shakil Auoj.

Timeline of protests at Karachi University

Secretary Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) Dr. Jameel Kazmi in collaboration with Sind Teachers Federation (STF) presented a demand note to the Sindh government with May 15 as deadline. He demanded free education for Rizvi’s daughters, investigation into the murder and Rs50 million as compensation to the family.

After the deadline all universities in Sindh will boycott education activities for an unlimited time period.

Meanwhile, AIG Sindh Ghulam Qadir Thebo has promised the vice chancellor that the investigation has made progress and the family will be brought to justice soon.

The writer is a student of Karachi University.