SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: March 18, 2013

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Government Degree Science College

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Pakistan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On March 18, 2013, Professor Syed Sibte Jafar Zaidi, a poet and principal of the Government Degree Science College in Liaqatabad, was shot at least four times and killed while en route to his home in Karachi.  The shooting took place around 200 metres from the university. Two members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an extremist group that has been active in Pakistan and often targeted Professors, subsequently claimed responsibility for the attack.
Professor Jafar, who had reportedly received death threats in the past, was known for his academic and poetic excellence and was the founder of Idaara-e-Tarveej-e-Sozkhwani, an educational and cultural institution aimed at reviving and imparting the classical Shia poetic traditions of soz and marsiya khwani.  The attack on Professor Jafar was one of several recent attacks against Shia professors in Pakistan.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the targeted killing of a professor for academic or sectarian reasons.  In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom, freedom of expression and religious freedom in the region. State authorities have a responsibility to ensure the security of academic communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.