Published: September 15, 2015
Prof Dr Muhammad Shakil Auj

Prof Dr Muhammad Shakil Auj

KARACHI: Despite the passage of one year, the family of Prof Dr Muhammad Shakil Auj is still waiting for justice.

These were the views shared by the speakers at a discussion at the Karachi University’s Arts Auditorium to remember the late professor, who was shot dead last year. Auj was remembered by teachers and students as someone who believed that a scholar belonging to any sect is respectable because he knows the true teachings of the religion, more than an ordinary person.

Journalist and columnist Wusutullah Khan termed this as a time of picking bodies and not of raising questions. Describing Auj’s personality, Khan said our society has become used to shortcuts and when one of us studies hard and spends time on research, he becomes a ‘special individual’ who is targeted and killed.

“First debates were an open forum, now a gunshot is the answer to every question because now people have no time to spend on debates,” said Khan. Talking about the differences in Islamic sects, Khan termed it a bouquet, due to whose differences people belonging to different sects of Islam are able to think differently. He said the problem with our society is that everyone wants to speak, but no one wants to listen. “It is possible that if we listen to someone carefully, we will have nothing left to speak about.”

Lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir, who has also been named by the Foreign Policy Magazine with three other Pakistani politicians for their efforts against sectarian violence in the country, said universities are considered a safe haven for teachers and students, but even that haven was turned into a nightmare for Auj after the publication of his literature. “As Muslims, we have the life and character of our Holy Prophet to follow, we have the Quran to learn the way of life, we have a religion like Islam to guide us, but still after 1,400 years, we are way behind other nations.”

A video of the president of Pakistan was shown, in which he praised Auj for his services and declared him a friend and teacher. Nasir questioned why a person who was called a friend by the president had no one taking threats to his life seriously.

His son, Dr Hasan Auj, said the family is not satisfied with the ongoing proceedings in the case. He suggested that the University of Karachi should have been a part of the proceedings as a separate party, as the threat letters were given to his father on the university premises. “Even the FIR was lodged in my premises,” said Hasan. He claimed that the investigations are not going in the right direction.

The vice-chancellor of the Federal Urdu University, Prof Suleiman D Muhammad, remembered Auj as someone who has helped the staff of the varsity to free the university from corrupt elements. President of the Karachi University Teachers Society, Jameel Kazmi, announced that the society would help Auj’s family.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th,  2015.